Bullying is typically associated with school yards and “mean girls.” But, unfortunately, it doesn’t always stop when people leave high school.

Many adults also experience bullying, and often it is at the workplace.

The Workplace Bullying Institute keeps track of such issues. They provide helpful information for those who have been bullied at the workplace. It also helps managers in trying to make sure it doesn’t happen.

That’s important, because as many as 75 percent of workers say they have been bullied in the workplace.

Nursing is one of those professions where bullying is an issue.

Bullying Study

According to a recent report, about 33 percent of nurses have considered quitting their jobs because of bullying. About 85 percent said they have experienced bullying while on the job, a staggering number.

For those wondering exactly what bullying would look like, the Workplace Bullying Institute provides some criteria. They say workplace bullying usually falls into three general areas:

  • Threatening, humiliating or intimidating co-workers with actions or words
  • Interfering with a co-worker’s job, preventing work from getting done
  • Verbally abusing another employee

Why do people do it? Control is the usual reason, much as it is in the schoolyard. But at work the stakes are higher – especially in the nursing profession. Preventing someone from doing their work or upsetting them so much that they do not perform at their best can result in poorer medical services.

Clearly, that’s not acceptable. But it remains an issue at many hospitals and other medical operations.

Examples of Nurse Bullying

Verbal harassment is the main way most nurses experience bullying, with about 45 percent of nurses reporting experiencing this.

In most cases, the bullying is targeted, meant to cause harm and happens over a length of time.

Another common bullying technique is “incivility”. This is subtle, yet very damaging form of bullying.

In nursing, this happens primarily with younger nurses. Older nurses have been known to withhold information, give younger workers unfair assignments, not give them credit for their accomplishments and even outright sabotage their younger co-worker’s efforts.

Ways to end nurse bullying include documenting every case where you are bullied, informing managers of the activity and having a written policy in place that addresses bullying and what will not be tolerated in the workplace.

Nursing is a wonderful profession, but bullying is an issue. For those earning their degree in nursing, it’s important to be aware of the issue and take the right steps to keep it from happening to them and those around them.