Bullying in the nursing profession is not a new occurrence. Nurses encounter it in frightening numbers, regardless of whether they are new to the profession or to the position in which they work. It may happen to both young and experienced nurses.

Bullying Shows Up in a Variety of Ways

Bullying manifests itself in a variety of ways, some overt, others subtle. Nurses who have conducted a significant study on this issue have compiled a comprehensive list of actions that constitute bullying, which includes the following:

  • Withholding information (thereby setting someone up to fail) or refusing to talk to a coworker; being harsh; providing the "silent treatment";
  • Unwarranted or incorrect criticism, or obsessively monitoring another's work.
  • Use of derogatory words or abusive gestures; use of filthy language or cursing; Raising one's voice, yelling at, or ridiculing someone is prohibited.
  • Individuals who are treated differently from the rest of the group are socially isolated.
  • Inappropriate and/or excessive queries regarding personal topics, as well as mocking about personal problems are prohibited.
  • Gossiping, spreading rumors, and assigning derogatory nicknames are all examples of cyberbullying.
  • Exempting employees from obligations or allocating them to low-skilled jobs without proper justification.
  • Accusing someone of something without providing any supporting evidence.
  • Assigning unreasonable tasks and failing to provide help to a colleague.
  • Making a condescending or patronizing statement.
  • Pretending to be the author of someone else's work without admitting their own contribution, or obstructing professional advancement and other employment possibilities.
  • Derogatory statements about employees or their work, including the use of body language (eye-rolling, dismissive conduct), sarcasm, and mockery; making someone the subject of practical jokes; and making someone the target of a practical joke are all prohibited.

We can't expect to grow as a profession until we first address the issues that are plaguing us on the inside. I find it ridiculous and terrible that the saying "Nurses Eat Their Young" has become a well-known expression. Why do we continue to allow this to happen? Was there any more negative picture of nursing that could be created than that of fresh recruits being abandoned?

It's important to remember that the young nurse, with her unpolished skills, know-it-all attitude, and determination to prove himself/herself, may very well be the one who looks after you one day. 

Isn't it interesting to know that they were accepted by their institutions, trained to achieve, and encouraged to be the greatest nurses they could possibly be? Not only that, but you also want to know that your legacy as a nurse will live on via their care. Isn't it already clear that they turn to you for guidance and support, and that a few simple words of encouragement may make all the difference in the world to them?

Keep in mind that you have been in their shoes at some point. You were a new nurse when you started, and you may very possibly be a new nurse in another environment at some time in your professional life. Consider how you would like to be greeted: formal or informal.

We have the ability to modify this, and it is quite simple to do so.

Nurses, be mindful of your surroundings. One day, your self-assurance and drive to provide excellent patient care may take hold of you and compel you to behave aggressively against others. I implore you to critically examine yourself and every scenario with which you come into touch. 

We all have a responsibility to look out for one another. When faced with a life-or-death crisis, why is it that we can all manage to carry on as if nothing has happened, yet cannot be bothered to continue with our everyday routine? We owe our fellow nurses respect and decency, as well as the capacity to perform at the highest level possible.

  • In the event that you witness a fellow nurse being bullied, Speak Up!
  • If you notice a fellow nurse suffering, step in and offer assistance!
  • If you see that a fellow nurse is in need of a friend, be that friend!

As nurses, we have the opportunity to make a significant difference in so many people's lives. Let us begin with those who are in the trenches with us in the healthcare industry: our fellow nurses.

May 12, 2023

Natasha Osei

Passionate Nurse Practitioner | People person
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