Nurses take aim at workplace bullying

Nurses are taking steps to handle bullying in the workplace. A series of blog posts from American Sentinel University aims to explore workplace bullying and examine conflict resolution strategies, whether the bullying is coming from "disruptive" physicians or from each other.

"While we like to think that nurse bullying isn't happening--it is a major issue, both in nurse satisfaction, and patient safety. Advanced education and good leadership skills help prevent this behavior in hospitals and healthcare organizations," Elaine Foster, Ph.D., R.N., associate dean of American Sentinel's graduate nursing programs, said in a statement. "Nurse leadership training emphasizes the importance of collaboration and the crucial role that each member of a team plays in making a difference in the lives of patients."

Roughly 85 percent of nurses have been verbally abused by a fellow nurse, Marie Claire recently reported, and some experts estimate that 1 in 3 nurses consider quitting because of the bullying.

The first blog post in the series--which runs through October 13--said that nurses who feel disempowered and helpless in the face of doctors, administrators and patients will take out their frustration in the form of "lateral violence" against their peers. To ease this stress and decrease worker frustration, the post calls for healthcare institutions to "promote a positive work environment and a culture of collaboration and safety."

When doctors do the bullying, it's up to healthcare providers to create a disciplinary framework that empowers nurses and other staff while showing respect to all parties involved, USA Today reports.

Effective ways of dealing with bullying physicians aren't just about punishment, Ronald Wyatt, medical director of the Joint Commission's healthcare improvement division, told USA Today. He suggests the industry design bullying reduction programs that provide disruptive doctors with anger management classes or counseling if necessary or even getting them help with medical or addiction problems.

To learn more:
- read the announcement
- here's the blog post
- check out the USA Today piece