We were invited to talk about bullying in healthcare by our good friend and author, Kati Kleber. Increasingly, we’ve all been asked to address this by nursing students feeling powerless in the classroom and in clinical settings. Similar to interns and graduate students, the common thread is continual evaluation by others higher on the totem pole–who themselves may be bullied by their superiors. We incorporated much of the current literature in our discussion on FreshRN, and some of it is surprising (and vicious).
So are we saying that not every nurse is as virtuous as the saintly one above? Bullying is surprisingly common in helping professions, even in churches. The top five bullying behaviors nursing students experience are nonverbal innuendos, verbal affront, undermining actions, withholding information, and sabotage. As opposed to being shoved on the playground, this sometimes requires perception and awareness of the social environment to even realize it’s happening. That’s why bullying is so common and devastating in learning environments. From a personal standpoint, several of us can remember times where we had to choose between learning 100% of the knowledge we needed for the day or being charming and socially adroit, because both required total concentration.
One reason that toxic learning environments are so consuming is the concept of a “snowflake”–an overly sensitive, dogmatic person, as opposed to six sided crystalline ice precipitation. It’s important to consider how other students are being treated, and how distant reality may be from our perceptions of being bullied. This is where others come in, although Behave Wellness would be better suited for that than a college ombudsperson (what do they do anyway?) or hospital HR department. Not that anyone’s life has been changed through a blog comment, but tell us your story below and we will do our best to help. Any professionals you use should be familiar with bullying so they can give you wise and relevant advice.