Bullying Is Disastrous for Healthcare—Nine Things to Know

April 1, 2021
April 1, 2021

In a recent HealthStream webinar, How to Banish the Bully Who Wreaks Havoc in Healthcare, Linda Leekley, CEO and founder of In the Know, described a significant challenge experienced by many people who work at all levels of healthcare—incivility and bullying in the workplace. She emphasized that this regrettable situation can happen in any industry, but it is “particularly rampant in healthcare… [where] the consequences can be deadly.”

Why is Incivility So Prevalent in Healthcare?

The medical field is rapid paced, as well as characterized by constant change. An environment where human lives often hang in the balance creates major responsibility, bringing with it much pressure and stress for everyone working in it. When looking for the reason that healthcare incivility and bullying are experienced so often, she suggested that “Some healthcare workers spend so much care and compassion toward patients that they have none left for themselves or their co-workers.” Workplace frustration, whether about hours, environment, colleagues, etc. also plays a prominent role in creating the conditions for incivility.

A Situation Linked to Feelings of Powerlessness

Leekley concluded by sharing her feeling that when people feel powerless they look for power anywhere they can find it, “even if it’s at the expense of other people.” Even more understandably, there are inherent stresses to many care-focused situations like being short-staffed, so it’s no surprise that many people respond by feeling “powerless, depressed, and even angry.” During her webinar presentation, Leekley discusses the following nine things we must understand about incivility and bullying in healthcare, in order to lessen their impact and prevent them whenever possible:

  • Define Incivility and Bullying in the Healthcare Workplace
  • Assess the Impact of Incivility on Healthcare in General
  • Appreciate the Effect of Incivility on Rank and File Healthcare Workers
  • What a Healthcare Staffer Should Do About Incivility
  • The Responsibility of Healthcare Leadership When Faced with Incivility
  • How Those Who Are Being Bullied Should Respond
  • The Special Risk and Effect of Workplace Violence
  • How Patients Suffer When Workplace Incivility Occurs
  • The Preventive Value of Civility Training for Staff in Healthcare