“Nurses eat their young” unfortunately is a fact. The reason isn’t known in spite of research. There are contributing factors that start with personality disorder, stressful nature of work, workplace politics, weakly enforced regulations regarding employee behavior etc. When new grad, inexperienced, overwhelmed nurses join the workforce, they make easy targets for unethical professionals.
Harassment and bullying cost organizations thousands of dollars in employee turnover, patient dissatisfaction and care defects. The damage to the victim is much more extensive which involves emotional distress, loss of employment and income, difficulty landing another job, lack of confidence, family grief and much more. Some school curricula include some brief education on harassment but it is not enough. Most often, workplace fails to follow through on subtle signs and obvious complaints of harassment and bullying. It is usually up to the victim to deal the bully.
I walked away from my bully and it cost me up to 5 months of unemployment and very hard time in landing my next employment. I spent many nights re-evaluating the situation and resenting my decision. When I did inform my supervisor about the behavior of my preceptor, she didn’t bother to take appropriate action. So here I am, trying to spread awareness about the monster.
What is workplace bullying? Look here for detailed explanation: http://www.workplacebullying.org/individuals/problem/definition/
Nursing is no exception to workplace bullying in spite of being a profession of caring. First of all, recognize bullying and harassment, verbal and non-verbal cues. Second, don’t feel ashamed if you are the victim. The stigma of being bullied prevents many people to take the next step and stop the bullying. Stop the perpetrator on the spot, use chain of command to follow through and don’t stop when you meet indifference. The anti-bullying laws and regulations are among the least exercised ones in the workplace. There are committees and hotlines if your immediate supervisor turns a cold shoulder to the situation.
Just like any other unethical and violent behavior, we need to prevent bullying and harassment by standing up to it. There is no point in crying over it. Please don’t just “put up” with it. Deal with it by resolving it, not by ignoring it or accepting it. There are many reference sources in dealing with bully, my favorite is Take the Bully by the Horns. It applies to personal and professional life. We all know bullying and harassment aren’t acceptable. We have absorbed the notion but it is useless unless we adopt the value.