Archive for January, 2013


January 24th, 2013 | General Nursing | 7 Comments

Breaking the Silence: The Effect of Bullying Within Nursing

Once you are out of nursing school and land your first job at a hospital or health care centre, excitement and anticipation are two emotions that you should be feeling, but fear and irritation are not. Unfortunately this may change after you have started your new job, and one reason why this may happen is the issue of bullying in the workplace. Bullying among nurses can also be referred to a lateral abuse, or sometimes horizontal violence, but all these terms basically mean the same thing. It is bullying, whether physical or mental, among nurses and their peers.

If you think that bullying among nurses is not something you really have to worry about, then think again. It is anything but a rare thing among nurses across North America, and the American Nurses Association/Canadian Nurses Association/Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions have some worrying statistics on this subject. Almost half of all nurses and health care professionals who responded to a survey carried out by the association said that they had seen verbal abuse in their workplace. To add to that, 43% of all the nurses who responded to the survey said that they themselves had experienced some kind of threatening body language at work.

What to Look Out For

There can be things big and small to look out for, and some things you might think will not pass for bullying at all. Perhaps you hear a colleague talking behind another’s back about an issue instead of being upfront and talking to the person directly. It could be something like seeing a fellow nurse making faces or raising eyebrows when another colleague makes a comment about something. Even these seemingly trivial things are bullying, and can lead to much more severe types of bullying. The end result could be a nurse refusing to assist a colleague that is bullying them, or carrying out acts of sabotage to land their victim in a bad situation. This type of behavior can be very dangerous within nursing, as it can lead to detrimental effects on patients.

Terrible Effects

The effect that bullying has on nurses and the communication networks between the whole team of nurses at any workplace is terribly detrimental. Individual nurses who are the target of bullying can become depressed, stressed out, and suffer from panic attacks. Lateral violence not only puts the nurse being subject to it at risk, but also damages overall workplace safety/USworkplacesafety. By feeling the effects of bullying, a nurse’s diminished demeanor can then go on to affect the quality of care they provide for their patients. A larger effect can be felt by the health organization as a whole, as nurses begin to feel low morale and productivity drops.

Speaking Out

If you think that this sort of stuff is normal, and just part of progressing through the ranks as a nurse then you are sadly mistaken. While bullying amongst nurses is a problem, it can be dealt with if something is done about it. Don’t stand for bullying in any form, and contact human resources or management as soon as it begins. All health organizations should have strict anti-harassment policies in place so that staff can report violations with confidence and know that something will be done about it. When the health organization you work for does not have these types of policies in place, then you should speak to management about it. If you are still worried about how to deal with a particular instance of bullying, you can find out lots of information about what to do by looking at nursing blogs. If you feel like you are getting no-where, remember that you don’t have to be put in a position you don’t want to be in. If you have no choice but to walk away from a job, don’t be afraid to do it.

Have Some Respect

There will almost always be some people who you work with that you do not get on with, or are just as friendly with as other work colleagues, and this is normal. What is should not be normal is treating anybody you work with less respect that another. As you read earlier, bullying not only breaks down vital lines of communication between nurses, it can also lead to cases of patients feeling the effects too. Bullying should not be accepted in any workplace, and in a nurse’s workplace the effects of bullying can be life threatening. Don’t stand for it, and help everyone to be able to work in a safe and comfortable workplace.

Written by Lisa McCann

Secrets to a New Nurse’s Success

January 14th, 2013 | General Nursing | 2 Comments

Entering into the often fast-paced world of nursing can be daunting; no amount of training can completely prepare you for some of the sights you may see or situations you may find yourself involved in. There are also some aspects of this profession that will not be realized or learnt until some experience in the work environment has been gained. This is where the experience of others can be used to help boost your initial success within the workplace, and also make your job a little bit easier.

The Need for Speed

Being able to aid someone quickly and efficiently can be tough in stressful situations. Many new nurses will enter into a situation where they feel like they are going half the speed of everyone else in the room, like they are disorganized, or just that they feel completely overwhelmed, so feeling this way should not dishearten you or worry you. The key here is to remain as unflustered as possible; the more experience you gain the more you will naturally react to a situation that is happening, and before you know it you’ll be able to handle a situation without thinking about speed – it will become a natural response mechanism.

Little Tips Make a Big Difference

Sometimes there are little tips and tricks you can learn over a period of time when dealing with certain patients, or by getting advice from an experienced nurse; however going into the workplace with some tips already known can put you in a brilliant position to help keep your patients happy and your confidence levels high.

Let’s start with bed-bound patients. Spending all day lying on a mattress can often cause patients to get pressure ulcers in a very unlikely place – their heels. There is an easy fix for this; simply take a pillow or other soft object and place it in a position that allows the heels to hang freely without any pressure on them. This is an excellent tip to know as it keeps the patient comfortable in what could otherwise be a very uncomfortable situation.

Another tip for keeping patients happy and comfortable involves the insertion of an IV. As many nurses know a significant amount of time can be spent re-inserting IVs. Often a generous helping of tape on the IV site can help to lessen the need for re-inserting the IV; however be sure the tape is not compromising the skin. Furthermore, labelling and dating IVs can make changing the lines in a timely fashion much easier.

You wouldn’t wear a pair of shoes that doesn’t fit, so don’t use gloves that don’t! At the start of your shift collect some boxes of gloves in your size and place them into the rooms of your patients. This means you have easy access to correctly sized gloves at all times, and as gloves can tear so easily this is a necessity. Remember, things like bathing patients or general cleaning up are tasks which can easily cause gloves to tear, so be sure to remember this and change gloves very regularly.

Your job as a nurse can get messy, and although it is not a particularly nice thought there are some precautions you can take with patients to help them remain comfortable; especially those that suffer from bowel incontinence. Protect sensitive areas on a patient with a petroleum jelly based product such as Vaseline. This not only protects the patient in sensitive areas but it stops any bowel incontinence from sticking to the skin of the patient.

Help the other nurses when they have a large volume of work to do and you find yourself with a relatively relaxed schedule. Doing this will not only earn you respect, but could also gain you some extra help should you need it when you find yourself with a very hectic schedule. Accepting assistance is not a sign that you are incapable of doing all the work – hospitals are very busy places – it just proves that you know your boundaries and would rather get a job done well with some help, than rushing through it alone. This also keeps patients happier as they feel like they are receiving proper care and attention.

Most importantly when you have just begun a career in nursing do not be afraid to ask questions. You may feel embarrassed to ask something but this is how you will learn and grow as a nurse. Find somebody you feel is trustworthy such as an older, experienced nurse. This will give you the confidence to ask any questions you want to be answered, without the worry or embarrassment of thinking you may be judged for not knowing something.

Lily McCann is a health writer who works with medical professionals and online healthcare providers to disseminate information.