While bullying in any workplace is a concern, bullying in healthcare settings can be a serious issue with the potential to impact patient care and inhibit teamwork and communication among nurses. Earlier this year, a group of South University, Columbia instructors and Bachelor of Science in Nursing students published an article in the April 2018 Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services focusing on the bullying of student nurses in clinicals.
The authors of the article include:
- Sandra Renee Henley, PhD,MSN, RN, Assistant Professor, South University, Columbia
- Carlos Paxtor, BSN student
- Rodriques Perry, BSN student
- Hillary Wren, BSN student
- Kimberly Samuel-White, BSN student
- Brittany Roseborough, BSN student
- Nautika Wills-Smith, BSN Program Graduate, RN
- Carolyn Horner, Ed.D, Assistant Program Director, General Studies
Entitled "An Opinion on Mistreatment Faced by Student Nurses During Clinical," the piece explains how bullying imposed on new nurses as an initiation to the profession—an act described in the phrase "nurses eat their young"—can lower the ability and desire of student nurses to learn as well as compromise the care received by patients. The article also offers advice for those involved and affected by nurse bullying.
Advice for Student Nurses
If bullying occurs during clinicals, student nurses should directly confront staff nurses, the authors assert. While this can be a difficult conversation to have, it is important to remain calm and base the discussion in logic and in a shared desire to provide quality care for patients. Addressing and resolving the issue, can allow you, as a student nurse, to better focus on your patients and increase your learning throughout your clinical rotations.
The authors also suggest that students notify their clinical instructors of any bullying or mistreatment, so that the clinical instructor can offer guidance and help to resolve the situation.
Advice for Staff Nurses & Clinical Instructors
Look to be part of the solution by being a good example and role model in the workplace. The responsibility of preventing bullying and improving patient care and student learning is a shared one. Identify and assess your own patterns of behavior as well as those of your colleagues, and be sure that you are helping to create an environment that encourages learning, teamwork, and communication among everyone. Ultimately, this will result in better prepared nurses and better treatment of the patients in your facility.
Moving Forward Together
Clinical rotations are a time for student nurses to discover their potential to improve patients' lives and for them to build a foundation of knowledge and experience upon which their careers will grow. It is because of the critical importance of the clinical experience that student nurses must address and overcome any obstacles—bullying and otherwise—to patient care, learning, and teamwork, while the rest of the nursing and healthcare field should work to support student nurses and prevent them from encountering unnecessary roadblocks as they begin their journey in healthcare.
View the full text of the article to learn more and educate yourself on the topic of nursing bullying.