Kicking off the news this week is a look at how we nurses treat each other. Yes, I’m talking about workplace bullying and hazing in the nursing profession. Recently at a statewide Quality and Safety summit for nurses in Florida, educators and nurses representing hospitals from around the state assembled to address all safety issues.

Summit on Safety Looks at Nurse Bullies

bullying-nurse-workplaceThe most interesting part of the discussion was when someone brought up workplace nurse bullying issues. One nurse attendee asked about the old nursing cliche that nurses “eat their young.” We all know this is a widespread problem that speaks to the entire healthcare workplace. Some people in our facilities don’t deal well with their own stress levels and pass that stress off to others in a variety of non-productive ways. Others are just plain mean.

Okay, so we admit the problem exists. Now what do we do about it? Often this is a problem that just gets ignored. Many of the nurses responsible for this type of behavior are also really good at patient care. They are valuable employees if you ignore their toxic personalities.

Taking a Nursing Perspective On Bullies

Perhaps we should look at it from a nursing perspective. If you are the target of a bully, have you told them to stop the offensive behavior? I know this sounds simplistic but it is an important point. Some people have been acting the way they do for so long they aren’t even aware they are doing it.

If the person in question is in a position of authority then go to their manager after addressing the problem directly with them. The manager may not be aware of their behavior. If the overall culture of the unit is allowing this behavior and you can’t get relief, transfer out or change to a different facility.

We are a caring profession and that caring approach should be as much a part of our interactions with each other as it is part of our interactions with patients. I’ll continue to look at this problem as time goes by but I want to hear from you. Shoot me and email or leave a comment on this article at and tell me what types of things you have had to deal with. I look forward to hearing from you.


Make sure you follow-up on the links for this news item and all of the other news and additional resource links from this week’s episode – Understanding Restless Legs Syndrome and Episode 387.



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