When the word bullying is mentioned, the scene that comes to play in your mind is most likely a tough, angry young boy, with his friends cheering him up to beat a weaker boy. A lot of us were once victim of bullying in secondary school, so we do know what it looks like to meet a bully. However, the evil act called bullying did not stop in the secondary school; a lot of nurses are victims of bullying and harassment in their place of work.
Bullying is referred as an unwanted and aggressive behavior that can occur anywhere, in school, work or even in a relationship. Workplace bullying is known as a major threat to the workforce, and about 85% of nurses are victims of bullying by a fellow nurse. Do we talk about the Chief Medical directors of most private hospitals that spew out insult and hurl abusive words on nurses, or even the old nurse who is about to retire who bully student nurses and young nursing graduate. Nursing in Nigeria is often time relegated to the lowest position amidst the other medical profession because of the popular and known fact that “Nurses eat their young”. This is truthfully sad, however, nurses do not only eat their young, and they also harass them till they are frustrated.
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I know what it feels like to work 12 hours shift, yet you have to face the bitter senior nurse who wants to keep you waiting for some more hours. We all know that this is bad; however, the fact it is generally called a bad thing is not enough to stop this menace.
Here are few points you can stop bullying at your place of work as a nurse:
Speak Up: I know how difficult this can be, however a bully gets more strengthened in your silence. Have you ever seen a dog barking at you because you are a stranger? If you start running, it chases you till you either escape or gets bitten. On the other hand, when you have a stick in your hands, or show the dog some stunts that you are not afraid, but rather challenged, it will be calm and you will forever walk freely on that path. Well, am I referring the senior nurse who bullies everyone in your unit a dog? No, that was just an analog to enlighten you on the need to speak up.
How do you speak up?
Make sure that you are knowledgeable. Most victims of bullying are people who are weak at one particular thing. A victim may be the most brilliant person in a unit, yet a bully picks on him using his weakness. Make sure you find your weakness and strengthen it. Speak up when you need to. Never keep quiet when you ought to speak up. Although, you have to be diplomatic to speak amidst your nursing colleague.
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Unity is Key: United we stand, divided we fall. If bullying and harassment must be curbed amidst nurses, then everyone must be willing to stand for each other. It does not matter if you are not a victim of bullying and harassment now. You will most likely be a victim someday if you do not stand fighting against it.
Report every form of bullying to the right authorities:
Reporting to the authorities like the hospital’s management or the nursing body may not be effective, because it may never be considered a threat or a major problem for young nurses. However, it is the right thing to do. Many times, young nurses fail victims of bullying at their place of work, and the regulatory bodies mentions that nothing of such problem has been mentioned before.
Never give room to be manipulated:
Not all bullies abuse a person verbally or throw punches or sharp objects. Some bullies are technically manipulators, they manipulate you to do things that are wrong, and make you believe it is the best. Bullies who are emotional manipulators may seem like the nicest person in your unit, however a second look at their motives, you find out that they are only after your downfall.
Nurse Managers should stand for younger nurses
Senior nurses must also play their part in recognizing potential bullies in the unit and prevent them as much as possible. In addition, senior nurses and regulatory bodies should implement policies that will enable every nurse have easy access to the authority, so they can report every bully.
In conclusion, if you choose to keep quiet about your bully, you will end up frustrated and depressed. Moreover, consistent bullying and harassment will make you lose confidence in yourself. Speak up! Stand with a nurse who is speaking up. Bullying and harassment should not be a norm in this noble profession. Will you stand up for a peaceful nursing profession?