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Nurses: Is Incivility at Work Making You Sick?

April 23, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 209

If on-the-job incivility is wearing you down, you're not alone. Most nurses can remember an incident of workplace bullying that they either witnessed or experienced personally. In fact, an epidemic of incivility infects most healthcare workplaces.

Some episodes of incivility are easy to spot. For example, you may actually witness a co-worker yelling at or berating another-or you may be a victim of such behavior yourself. But, other forms of incivility are more subtle and difficult to pin down.

Have you witnessed these examples of incivility in your workplace?

  • Eye rolling, giving the silent treatment and using sarcasm.
  • Gossiping, spreading rumors or speaking negatively about others.
  • Bullying, using power to intimidate or harm others.
  • Yelling, throwing things, slamming things and "losing it."
  • Intentionally creating a situation to make another person look foolish or incompetent.
  • Speaking with the intent to belittle or degrade.
  • Intentionally targeting victims based on rank, age, gender, race or sexual orientation.

Incivility can leave you feeling exhausted, hopeless and dissatisfied, but there is even more bad news. It also adds to medical errors, poor patient satisfaction, higher employee turnover and higher healthcare costs for consumers. Consider these facts:

  • Working in a culture of incivility leads to more absenteeism. As many as 47% of healthcare employees report spending less time at work because of incivility.
  • Twelve percent of victims admit they have quit a job because of incivility.
  • According to expert estimates, nearly one-fifth of all healthcare workers who provide direct care to patients will leave their profession within the first three years of working. The number one reason why? It's "burnout" from stressful working environments.

The cost of incivility is high. Bullying is proven to place patient safety at risk because it interferes with teamwork and erodes communication. Healthcare workers pay for incivility with their mental health. Patients pay with their physical health. And, organizations pay for incivility with their profit margins.

The problem of incivility in the healthcare workplace is so serious that The Joint Commission has issued regulations on reporting, disciplining and preventing incivility in healthcare environments. That means your workplace is responsible for handling and preventing incivility.

  • Is your workplace doing enough to prevent incivility?
  • Do you have a clear policy in place that defines the problem and identifies the consequences?
  • Does your workplace have a civility training program in place?

If you answered "no" to any of these questions, don't sweep the problem under the rug. Instead, check with your supervisor and/or your human resource department to find out what they are doing to combat incivility--and how you can get involved.

Linda H. Leekley BS, RN, is the co-author of The Real Healthcare Reform: How Embracing Civility Can Beat Back Burnout and Revive Your Healthcare Career, available from Amazon or from Call 877.809.5515 for information on quantity discounts for your healthcare organization.

Source: EzineArticles
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Article Tags:

Healthcare Employees


Workplace Bullying


Culture Of Incivility


Patient Safety Risks





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