slideshow widget

Thursday, February 14, 2013

How to deal with bullying in the workplace

There was an article written a while back and published at medscapes called "A Matter of Respect and Dignity: Bullying in the Nursing Profession."  It turns out that bullying by nurses and respiratory therapists is a real issue that needs real attention.

Ironically I wrote a post a while back "Reversing a Bullying Culture."  I would imagine I was responding to a report written by Lynda Olender-Russo at  This article was written just prior to my post.  

Regardless, bullying in the medical field is a real issue.  Most of us want to go to work and enjoy ourselves.  We want to do the best we can to help our patients and and we want to do it in a relaxing, enjoyable environment. Bullies tend to take this fun away. 

Bullies can make it so you hate your job, or at least hate working when they're around.  They often make you second guess your abilities, and this, in turn, can result in low morale, apathy, burnout, and unhappiness at work.  

Russo notes that one of the main reasons for dissatisfaction at work is workplace bullying.  She wrote of a survey by the Joint Commission where 50% of respondents noting they were the victims of workplace bullying, and 90% noted witnessing such behavior

So what is bullying?  According to Russo it's "rude or disrespectful behavior that demonstrates a lack of regard for others." If left unabated, such behavior can flourish.  The goal of the bully is to put you on the defense and make you feel uncomfortable.  

Bullying is often results in the victim calling in sick or simply quitting.  It causes cardiovascular disease due to stress, and depression. It also causes insomnia and digestive disturbances.

Bullying results in absenteeism, low productivity, high staff turnover.  These are all things Russo wrote about in her article.  Estimated workplace cost directly attributable to bullying ranges up to $6 billion dollars annually.  

Yet all of these can be dealt with by dealing with the bully in a professional manner.  A bully should never affect your happiness, whether the bully is your boss or a coworker.  

So who are the bullies:
  • Coworkers
  • Bosses
  • Doctors
I've learned the best way to deal with bullies is to give them extra attention, and dote them.  Seriously.  I give them the opposite of what they expect to get from me. I usually try to do what the bully wants.  (and yes, I have off days just like you probably do).

No comments: