Term Paper: Workplace Violence
April 10th, 2018
Workplace violence is a very well known issue in the nursing profession worldwide. It is a serious workplace issue, and nurses are prone to be bullied, harassed and discriminated more often then other professions. According to OSHA, “Workplace violence is any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening, disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site.” Workplace violence can range from threats, verbal abuse to physical harm. It can even lead to homicide. Approximately a quarter of total violent events occurs with the healthcare workers. A survey done in Turkey show that 60.8% of nurses in ICU, psychiatry, and ED are faced with either verbal or physical violence from patients, visitors or even healthcare workers. Workplace violence and bullying can have negative impacts on the nurses. Workplace violence can have a negative impact on one’s psychological state and physical wellbeing. Some of the negative consequences that these nurses’ faces are depression, low self-esteem, stress, posttraumatic stress disorder, sleep disorder, and some attempt suicide. A Headache, eating disorders and onset of chronic symptoms such as pain are some of the psychosomatic symptoms. Bullying is a type of workplace violence where it can have a negative impact on individual psychosocial and physical state and also can impact an institute overall. According to Blackwood, K “Workplace bullying lowers morale, job satisfaction, commitment, and productivity, and increase the likelihood of staff absenteeism and turnover”(Blackwood, K 2018).
Workplace violence can be from experiences healthcare workers/ nurses to new graduate nurses, managers/supervisors to new graduates and it can be from PCT or CAN to new graduates. When there is violence in the workplace, there is no respect for the workers. When the violent behavior is permitted or ignored at the workplace, it gives rise to a hostile work environment. Workplace violence creates a negative or an unfavorable environment where every healthcare workers are negatively affected. It is essential to stand up against workplace violence such as bullying and harassment. Co-workers should stand with the victim rather than stand with the bully and appreciates the action. Some are scared to speak up because of the consequences and worry that they will be the next targets. Its imperative for the victims to speak up and get support form the co-workers right away.
Anybody is at risk for workplace violence or bullying, but new graduates nurses are especially at higher risk because new graduates don’t know how the system works and do not often speak up thinking of the negative consequences such as being thrown away from the original job. According to Blackwood, “Research in New Zealand shows that newly registered nurses are subjected to bullying behaviors, such as having learning opportunities blocked, being undervalued, suffering emotional neglect, being distressed about conflict, and being given too much responsibilities without appropriate support” (Blackwood, K 2018). These overall effects can leave an individual with invisible scars; humiliation and can even cause them to attempt suicide.
Workplace bullying is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. According to Wilson (2016), “Sauer (2012) asked the same question as Meissner (1986) and found that over 20 years later there is still a disturbing prevalence of bullying within nursing in a range of countries” (p. 304). As mentioned before nurses to nurses bullying is a big issue and needs to be addressd. In the USA, it is found that 23 to 27% nurses are bully by other nurses. 14.7% to 21.7% nurse in Australia are being bullied by other nurses and 19% in Canada respectively. These numbers demonstrate that nurses, no matter the country are being bullied in daily life by the other nurses and by the other healthcare workers. Nursing is a profession, which demonstrates compassionate, and empathy yet nursing is a profession where bullying and workplace violence occur very often. Workplace violence is serious issues where not only the nurses are at risk, but also the patients that they are taking care are at risk too and even the unit morale. Violence in the workplace is a common issue yet not readily spoken. It is mainly because the target does not come forward to talk about it or scare of the consequences when the person who bullies is in a higher position. The nurses who get bullied should know that they are not alone. When this violence is not spoken openly, it can lead to different psychosomatic symptoms. The victims often harm themselves.
Workplace violence is a vicious cycle, which affects not only the individual but also the workplace environment becomes toxic to work. As mentioned above, violence at workplace not only affects the nurses but also the patient’s care is at risk. The victim becomes isolated and demonstrates no eagerness to work, which affects the institution. They will dread coming to work, pay no attention to patient care, their self-esteem decreases and self-doubt increases. When they feel no eagerness to work and their self-esteem decreases, they don’t feel like coming to work and thus leads to workplace absenteeism. All these negative consequences ultimately affect the institutions. The bullied people feel undermined, undervalued and powerlessness. A study also showed that some of the nurses even leave the profession because of the violent behaviors. According to Wilson…. found that over 30% of those bullied withdrew from certain tasks in their workplace, reduced their commitment to work and many reduced the time they spent at work in order to avoid contact with the bully. Patients can be affected in that it becomes an unsafe environment for patient care” (p. 305). The bullied nurse feels incompetent, undermined, undervalued and unable to do the job correctly and makes an error, thus putting the patient care at risk.
Bullying can be both physical and verbal. Some of the verbal behaviors include name-calling, scapegoat, rumors, withholding information, and innuendo, sabotaging and breaking of ones’ confidence. Physical violence includes pushing and inappropriate touching. It is essential to recognize the violent. The managers and the supervisors should know the impact of bully and workplace violence on an individual, on the patient’s care and the organization. So, whenever a staff complains about being bullied or harassed, it’s important to initiate an investigation and find out the root. Early recognizing and acting on it is crucial.
What can we do and should be done to eliminate bulling and violence at workplace? According to Hellebrand, there are four steps to it. Recognize the bullying, intervene, stop the rumors and hold leaders and organization accountable. It is critical for leaders to assess bullying and violent at workplace. The leaders should be informed about the bullying right away and they also should know that cost of bullying on the organization. Intervening is a difficult thing to do but its necessary. The leaders should act right away when a complaint is filed and start an investigation on it. Leaders also should stop all the negative and false rumors. The organization should make anti bullying policies at the workplace.
Bullying and workplace violence is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. Workplace violence is defined as an act that causes physical violence, harassment, threatening behavior. Bullying is repeating use of offensive words, misuse of power, and abusive and intimidating action towards an individual. Bullying and violence in the workplace creates a hostile environment to work. It not only cause harm to an individual but also the care of the patient is jeopardized. Bullying doesn’t have to be from superior to juniors, but it can occur in any part of an institutions such as nurses to nurses, managers, and physicians to nurses, and even from PCT or CAN to nurses. Bullying can cause psychosomatic symptoms such as depression, anxiety, stress, PTSD, suicidal ideation, chronic headache, and pain, eating disorders and many more. It decreases one’s self-esteem and increases their self-doubt. When above situation occurs, there is an increased chance to make an error, which puts patient care at risk. Workplace violence also has a negative impact on an organization such as increase absenteeism and low productivity. Overall, workplace violence and bullying should be avoided, and the upper hierarchy should make policies to stop it.
Chapovalov, O., & Van Hulle, H. (2015). WORKPLACE BULLYING IN NURSING –
PART 1: PREVENTION THROUGH AWARENESS. OOHNA Journal, 34(2),
Hellebrand, A. M. (2018). No Fear: Be Proactive to End Workplace Violence and
Bullying. Nephrology Nursing Journal, 45(1), 11-85.
Occupational safety and Health Administration. Workplace Violence. Retrieved from
Wilson, J. L. (2016). An exploration of bullying behaviours in nursing: a review of the
literature. British Journal Of Nursing, 25(6), 303-306.