Eliminating Workplace Violence and Incivility

By Hope Campbell posted 02-23-2015 00:08

Episodes of workplace violence and Incivility will only be eliminated when employees report it.....yet we have heard over and over how many of these nurses have reported their personal experiences only to be let down by those who should have supported and protected them.
-Workplace violence should be a prohibited behavior. Workplace policies should reflect this, and employers should be held accountable to enforce.
-Experiences of workplace violence should remain as confidential as possible and only include those who need to know to complete a fair investigation.
-Nurses must be able to report a safe environment and without fear of retaliation. Employers need to investigate any complaints of retaliation, and discipline accordingly.
-Employees who engage in unprofessional conduct such as workplace violence, and based on the findings of the investigation, should be disciplined, including being held liable under the State Nurse Practice Act.
-Employers need to implement training and prevention strategies to ensure that employees are educated on how to report workplace violence, and their responsibilities for reporting in an effort to protect themselves and /or a co-worker..
-Ongoing assessments of workplace violence and prevention strategies should occur in an effort to monitor and correct known gaps in compliance in preventing workplace violence and to reflect changes in the condition of the work environment.
-Nurses have the right to a safe work environment that is free from any type of workplace violence.
Lots of brainpower working on this issue, and I am very hopeful that the Workforce Violence and Incivility group will be able to assist in developing concrete statements necessary to assist nursing leaders in addressing this issue.m



11-29-2015 01:37

Being in the medical field for over 35 years, I have seen many changes. Some for the better, some for the worse. The one thing that has really stopped me in my tracks is the unprofessional behavior from peers and physicians. I am in the minority for wanting mutual respect among my team network as well as for the patients we serve. From nurses in authority arranging dating services for a widowed male nurse, to physicians outwardly making comments regarding the homosexuality of another physician, to a senior nurse that makes up own rules ignoring nurse practice act and spreading rumors to deliberately discredit and devalue other nurses. When anyone speaks up , ( even in confidence to the nurse manager ) gets escalated out of context ,exaggerated and twisted to target the individual making it a toxic work environment for the person. Patient care is compromised because procedure is not followed, specimens get mixed up, patients are left waiting, and the current politics is set up to cover up ,not to identify and fix. I saw rumors escalate in retaliation for one nurse who sold girl scout cookies from 2005 to 2009, by 2013, they were saying she was a machine gun manifesto. The last year of her 8 years there she was sent to the manager office every month, accused of being rude when just simply asking for report, accused of being out of scope when she tried to delegate per protocol, accused of " changing medications and having a gun"( although proven to be a malicious rumor by HR , it spread through the work area), written up for sharing at a meeting on retaliation when the survey results scored high for "inability to speak up for fear of retaliation, then she was written up and given last chance agreement for saying things she never could have said about anyone and if she did , no one told her , " hey that is offensive" until the rumors escalated to make her into something she was not. There is no protection for the whisteblower and there is no upholding nurse practice act. Why make rules if no one upholds them.?

09-15-2015 11:19

Hi All,
I'm an Operating Room supervisor and would like the change the culture of bullying in the OR not only from within the nurses but also from the surgeons. What is the best approach when it happens? our hospital does have the policy of not tolerating disruptive behaviors, and new employees do recieve class about it during orientation, but they have not stopped the incidents. What I like to do is to go ahead stop the behaviors right there when they happen, no matter it is in what situations ( such as during surgery while surgeon causes disruptive behavior toward my staff). Do I need to wait until after surgery and speak to that person in private? I don!t want to wait until the damage has been done and I
don't think that is the best way to do but....

05-08-2015 02:48

I had suggested in another place the potential value of making workplace social skills learning a part of the Employee Assistance Program many places of employment offer. I believe that this would help support the differences between people, not just those differences expressed by cultural, ethnic or environmental experiences, rather those developed within each of our personalities. I fear with any organizational statement of behaviors that will or won't be tolerated, as within its self creating a venue to allow bullying or mobbing as described in an article posted Kotleras-mobbing2011.pdf ( excuse me I don't recall who posted it but it was in Wednesday post). I believe to shift away from a culture of bullying we as nurses must be more flexible to allow differences in personalities there by not determining only specific interactions. Do not hear me wrong please, I do not suggest we allow for the person that undermines others, or that is so rude they make you sorry you came to work that day. My suggestion is to teach ways that others communicate. Examples: extroverts vs. introverts, other generations, those desiring management positions vs. "floor" RNs, those working on advanced degrees vs those with young children (or in some cases both). We all come to work with different past and present experiences that have the potential to cause us to present ourselves in ways that do not flow with the milieu but does not reduce our ability to do excellent work. The awareness of this as a form of diversity can have potential at reducing the stress perceived and/or realized from a hostile work environment.

03-05-2015 23:22

The internal investigations has to be handled by a 3rd party if you want to fix these problems. In changing culture there will be processes that have to take place immediately and as it stands the internal process is a huge failure.. In the future once culture change has occurred then that third party might be able to hand the job back to the internal processes........ There have been 3 decades that I have witnessed that have not been handled through the processes in place. Employers/ HR/ EAP will all have to have a culture shock and realize this violence and bullying is no longer a "cool" thing to be a part of!!! It will actually finally become "cool" to stand with "High Morals" and protect all..... I can not wait for this day!! I hope I live to see it happen!!!

03-03-2015 18:54

Hi Hope,
I agree with your statement. There needs to be a safe way for nurses to report this behavior and it be addressed. It is more important for employers to educate and enforce appropriate behavior.