Bullying can occur in any workplace, and the healthcare industry is no exemption. As a professional, you need to be aware of the signs of bullying in your healthcare institution. Are you–
➤ the target of verbal abuse, such as being yelled at or belittled in front of other co-workers or even patients; this includes your medical judgment being constantly questioned or scrutinized unnecessarily before co-workers or patients.
➤ getting excluded from meetings, social events, or seminars?
➤ being given unreasonable deadlines or workloads beyond your usual?
➤ the object of false rumors and cooler gossip?
➤ getting your medical requests pushed back by another?
➤ always getting the worst schedules, missing holidays, and getting leaves denied?
➤ being quietly fired?
➤ physically threatened or intimidated?
Don’t let bullying fester. Stand up and do something about it; prepare your weapons and get ready to defend yourself. Here are things that you can do:
Firstly, document the behavior and keep a record of the dates, times, and specific instances of the bullying behavior. Complete your evidence for reporting the person.
Next, gather yourself and your confidence. Talk to your friends, co-workers, leaders, or even HR. Get opinions or even other people’s experiences with the bully. If you feel that you need a deeper cleanse of your mental fortitude, get professional help like a counselor or a therapist.
Try to be at least assertive around the person. Change your body language, stand proud, look them straight in the eyes, and talk using a more serious tone. Remind yourself that you have paid your dues to be here in this healthcare institution and that you will not take this lying down.
If being direct to the bully has no effect, then it is time to report them; if it’s a co-worker with the same post, take it to your team leader. If the bully is a leader, take it to your HR department. Most companies have policies in place for bullying. If the issue is severe, you may need to consider some legal help.
When all else fails, and you still get the runaround, and nothing happens internally, it may be time to involve traditional and social media. Create campaigns and peaceful protests.
Healthcare professionals are already bombarded by stressors and hardships in their industry. Adding bullying makes it more difficult for everyone. And most of the time, it’s a communication issue. Healthcare workers are people too and can get affected by problems that they cannot directly talk about and get expressed in very negative ways. A culture of open and honest communication can make these issues clearer and easier to deal with. This is DCC’s Healthcare Now program, where we value communication and the Collective Voice. Let’s talk about this. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.