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How to Handle Bullies in Nursing

How to Handle Bullies in Nursing

Marijke Durning | NursingLink

Bullying in Nursing

Bullying can happen anywhere, but it is particularly present wherever people are oppressed, as is often the case for nurses. “The female-dominated profession of nursing has typically fallen under male-dominated groups of physicians and administrators in the power structure of health care systems,” says Amy Glenn Vega, author of Lions and Tigers and Nurses. “Theoretically, members of an oppressed group will turn on each other and use violence as way to achieve power over their peers.”

In nursing, lateral violence occurs when oppressed people adopt the attitude and behaviors of those who have oppressed them. It’s a perpetuating cycle where a bully preys on a victim, who becomes a bully and terrorizes someone else.

Kathleen Bartholomew, RN, MN, and author of several works on nursing and bullying including Ending Nurse-to-Nurse Hostility, says bullying happens because nobody cares about nurses. Because caring for the nursing staff is not part a manager’s or CEO’s job description, they behave like any other business leader or administrator. But nurses, by virtue of their work, are not like regular business workers and professionals; they don’t respond to that type of “handling.”

Bullying seems even less likely in a field such as nursing, where caring and compassion are cornerstones of the job. Nurses have to devote their work hours to constantly providing care for others – physically and emotionally. Unfortunately, that kindness and courtesy isn’t automatically extended to coworkers.

Without a doubt, strong personalities abound in nursing. It’s a stressful profession, and the need to always be thinking on your feet – as well as the physical aspect of the job –takes a toll on our behavior towards one another. However, as Vega points out, “People with personality differences usually butt heads because of different views or feelings on a particular matter, but can learn to work harmoniously when they respect each other.” Bullying surfaces when there is no respect for each other.

Next: Signs of a Bully >>


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  • Nerdynursebutton_max50

    TheNerdyNurse

    over 3 years ago

    14 comments

    lateral violence is why I began blogging and is a huge barrier to the advancement of the nursing profession

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    mariacstro

    over 3 years ago

    2 comments

    Chaotick, lol. I too experienced this. I loved my job. Nursing is my passion but unfortunately I ended up quitting that job. I couldn't take it anymore. I don't understand ppl. I always welcomed the newbies and helped them adjust. So anyway, I'm pretty ill find something better. ;-)

  • Thefatlady_max50

    ChaoticK

    over 3 years ago

    4 comments

    This is why I don't want to be a nurse anymore. I like my coworkers, for the most part, but there seems to be one out of control b-word in every workplace I've attempted and, for whatever reason, I must have a giant bulls-eye on my back that makes them zero in on me. And the 'nice' coworkers don't want to 'get involved' (maybe happy not to be victim of choice). My sanity just isn't worth it.

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