Patient Safety Topics
:
Bullying
Overview

​Bullying or aggressive behaviors between healthcare providers, such as verbal abuse and intimidation, can be a threat to safe patient care. Bullying behaviors can inhibit teamwork, obstruct communication, and delay implementation of new practices; it can interfere with patient care. This type of behavior may contribute to low worker morale, absenteeism, and high rates of staff turnover.

Key Data and Statistics

​Of the bullying events reported through the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Reporting System from July 1, 2014, through June 30, 2016, most occurred in the perioperative area, involved physicians as the perpetrators, and included verbal abuse and intimidating behaviors. The small number of events reports over the two-year period may reflect a lack of recognition of bullying behaviors, particularly if they are covert; a reluctance to report for fear of retribution; and absence of a category for bullying as it relates to patient safety.

Figure. Bullying Events by Care Area (N = 44)

Note: As reported to the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority, July 1, 2014, through June 30, 2016.

 

Educational Tools

Tackle Bullying with D.E.S.C.
Healthcare staff can keep this card-sized de-escalation tool with their name badges.

Bullying Behavior Assessment
This reprinted assessment includes questions with which healthcare staff can gain self-awareness about behaviors that could be considered as bullying.

What if the Bully is You?
This reprinted assessment includes questions with which healthcare staff can recognize whether they have experienced or witnessed bullying behaviors.

10 Scripts to Respond to A Disruptive Co-Worker
This reprinted document includes sample scripts with which healthcare staff can respond to disruptive coworkers.

Anti-Bullying Policy
Healthcare facilities can adapt this sample policy, reprinted from a Pennsylvania facility, to communicate a facility-specific anti-bullying policy.

Respectful Workplace Policy
Healthcare facilities can adapt this sample policy, reprinted from a Pennsylvania facility, to communicate a facility-specific respectful workplace policy.

Multimedia

Managing Incivility
This video from a Maryland college offers a simulation situation addressing bullying among nurses. The video objectives include self-advocacy, the use of the cognitive rehearsal technique, and the ability to have difficult conversations.

Advisory Articles
Safety Tips for Patients

 

 

©2017 Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority