Nurses are vital to our health-care system. There is already a shortage of nurses, and the nurses who are employed full-time are usually overburdened with excessive responsibilities and large patient loads. Recruiting and retaining novice nurses (NN) is critical to maintaining effective and available health-care services. But workplace bullying (WPB) is limiting the number of NNs, and because of WPB, nearly one-third of all NNs plan to leave their chosen fields. Senior nurses are supposed to supervise, mentor, and teach NNs. However, some engage in verbal and emotional abuse that leave an already powerless NN feeling even more helpless and victimized. The psychological impact to the NN is devastating and can result in stress, anxiety, fear, depression, physical pain, and even suicidal thoughts. Additionally, the cognitive abilities of NNs are drastically diminished as a result of WPB, posing a significant threat to the patients in their care.
To get a better understanding of the prevalence of WPB within the nursing field, Peggy A. Berry of the College of Nursing at the University of Cincinnati recently led a study involving 197 NNs. The nurses were interviewed via the internet and asked to report the type of WPB they had been subjected to during the 2 years they had been working. Berry discovered that over one-fifth of all the nurses surveyed had experienced some form of WPB in the previous 6 months. Even more alarming was the disproportionately high number of NNs who reported being bullied by a nurse in a power of position within the previous 30 days. Berry believes this is particularly important because even one WPB event can cause have a substantial impact on productivity.
Because of the shortage of qualified nurses and the increasing demand for health-care services, addressing the issue of WPB among NNs is essential. Berry recommends that staff members within nursing arenas work together to create safe working conditions that support the psychological and physical well-being of the patients being served and the staff nurses serving them. She also noted that NNs who experience high levels of WPB may experience enormous mental stress and therefore could be less inclined to report the abuse to their supervisors, emphasizing the need for safe and effective avenues of communication. She added, “All nurses, novice and experienced, need to be educated to recognize WPB behavior and collaborate within their organizations without fear of retribution to eliminate WPB as a social norm.”
Berry, P. A., Gillespie, G. L., Gates, D., Schafer, J. (2012). Novice nurse productivity following workplace bullying. Journal of Nursing Scholarship 44.1, 80-87.
© Copyright 2012 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved.
The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.