Managers crucial to stamping out bullying in nursing
The report identifies the management competencies needed to both prevent and manage workplace bullying in the nursing sector, although most insights would be relevant in any sector.
Dr Kate Blackwood says early interventions when there are signs of bullying behaviour is the key to successful outcomes. “If you let bullying escalate and become drawn out over time, not only is there likely to be significant damage caused, but it is likely to become extremely difficult to resolve. By the time it is formalised through Human Resources [HR], it has often escalated too far – there is likely to be a much better outcome if there is informal, low-level intervention at an early stage.”
The ideal person to address bullying behaviour at an early stage is a team manager, Dr Blackwood says, but unfortunately, managers can also be the source of bullying behaviour. She says she has heard many stories where there are known bullies who get away with it in the health sector because they “get things done”.
In-depth interviews were conducted with nurses and direct line managers of nursing teams for the report. Participants were asked to describe their current and past work environments, including those in which they had experienced or managed bullying and those they considered to be healthy. Common themes were identified, providing guidance for managers who want to deal with bullying better and organisations looking to recruit and promote staff with the right management competencies.