Back to Basics: Preventing Workplace Bullying

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Volume 110, Issue 3 - September 2019
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Back to Basics: Preventing  Workplace Bullying

Inappropriate workplace behavior such as bullying can negatively affect patient safety and staff member satisfaction. Bullying can be directed at individuals, groups of team members, or leaders and can include a variety of behaviors. Disrespectful behaviors are learned, tolerated, and reinforced; a certain degree of disrespect is accepted in some settings. Perioperative team members should use direct and meaningful communication to encourage and contribute to healthy work  environments that address conflict and promote patient safety. They should follow applicable zero-tolerance policies on bullying and report disrespectful behaviors to leaders who, in turn, should address the behavior in a fair manner according to disciplinary guidelines. When disrespectful behaviors are reported and managed appropriately, bullying in the workplace can be minimized or even eliminated, which improves the overall workplace culture.

Key words: workplace bullying, unprofessional behaviors, staff morale, cultural hierarchy, disrespect.