What if the Bully is You?

This month we have a guest post written by Dr. Renee Thompson. She is a well-recognized, expert on bullying and incivility in the workplace. Since October is National Bullying Prevention Month, the topic seemed fitting.

What if the Bully is You? (by Dr. Renee Thompson)

A few years ago I was doing a workshop for nurse leaders on the topic of bullying and incivility. About halfway through, a woman in the back of the room stood up and proclaimed, “I’m the bully.” Her assistant managers, who were sitting on both sides of her, quickly jumped to her defense. “No you’re not. You’re just a bit direct.” This leader again proclaimed, “I’m telling you. I’m the bully. That’s me up there (referring to the list of bullying behaviors on the screen).” But again, her colleagues defended her innocence until finally, they both said, “Okay. You are the bully but we’ve been too afraid to tell you!”

As I travel the country doing my part to eradicate bullying and incivility in healthcare, I’ve learned that the bullies can’t be everyone else. We all have to look in the mirror and determine if WE might be the bullies or at least, in some way, contribute to bullying.

Numerous studies show that anywhere from 73% to 93% of all nurses have either experienced or witnessed bullying in the workplace. Who are these “bullies”?”

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