Is Nurse Bullying A Problem?

Nurse-on-nurse bullying may be more prevalent than people think and could have major consequences.

Workplace bullying for nurses may be a bigger problem than most people think and in some cases could jeopardize patient safety.

An article on, while sometimes vague, references multiple studies that show nurses bully their peers more than workers in other professions. Particularly concerning is some examples of nurses not doing their jobs to the best of their ability because of the effects of bullying. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that there will be a shortfall of 1.05 million nurses by 2022.

The Workplace Bullying Institute in Bellingham, Wash., says 36% of their complaint calls are from nurses, making them by far the most frequent callers. The article also explains that victims of nurse bullying find legal recourse difficult because woman on woman aggression isn’t discriminatory.

A 2011 Research in Nursing and Health survey found that the most prevalent bullying comes in the form of nurses being given an unmanageable workload and being ignored or excluded.

These kinds of behaviors can have a negative impact on patient health and overall hospital productivity. The Joint Commission found in 2014 that 63% of cases resulting in the unanticipated death or permanent disability of a patient could be traced back to a communication failure by hospital staff.

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