When bullying turns deadly

Bullying in the workplace is harmless. Right? Not really, consider the impact bullying has when the workplace is a hospital or other health care provider and it’s a nurse being bullied. The consequences can be deadly.


According to the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, half of all nurses gave a medication to a patient that they had concerns about simply because the prescriber of the medication intimidated them. They didn’t ask questions or seek clarification or raise concerns because they were scared to and it was easier to just give them medication then question it. (See: http://www.ismp.org/pressroom/pr20040331.pdf)

This is not a minor problem. The same study showed that nearly half of all respondents reported being subjected to abusive language and threatening behavior in the past year. That’s a lot of harassment.

And it’s not just nurses. Your pharmacist, who is responsible for making sure that your various meds don’t interact with each other to kill you or cause more harm than good are more likely to be threatened or yelled at by a prescribing physician than nurses are and 83% say they experienced a problem even getting the doctor to call them back to answer their questions or concerns.

Now, if you are like me, you are probably terrified at this point. Aren’t all your health care providers supposed to be working together? In an ideal world yes.

So what can we do about this? Lack of respect for others really is the culprit here. If we don’t respect our co-worker we treat them badly or refuse to hear their concerns as valid. We treat the asking of questions as an annoyance. I know you’ve felt like this yourself. We all have.

Which means we are all part of the problem. What we need to do, all of us, is create a culture where respect is the norm. It’s also why companies REALLY need to teach their staff how to stop bullying effectively. Because the way you stop bullying helps to create a more respectful workplace. The two go hand in hand.

If you are looking for training for your staff – consider my programs over at: https://humanistlearning.com/category/businesscourses/bullyingharassment/

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