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Nurse Bullying's Corrosive Effect on Colleagues Confirmed

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, July 23, 2012

Common sense says that nurses subjected to bullying on the job will look for work somewhere else. Indeed, in some cases bullying by supervisors or colleagues may be surreptitiously designed to encourage the victim to quit.

That sort of malignant winnowing, it appears, is not without consequences.

A study from Canada shows that bullying has a corrosive effect on the morale and job satisfaction of not only the intended victim, but also on the nurses who witness the maltreatment of a colleague. That dissatisfaction can manifest itself in high turnover or the intent to look for a new job or other negative job behaviors, according to the study Escaping bullying: The simultaneous impact of individual and unit-level on turnover intentions, which appeared in the July issue of Human Relations magazine.

"The results of this study show that people are not only aversively affected by their own experience of being bullied, but that the bullying experiences of others in their work units can have significant effects as well. Our results show that merely working in a work unit with a considerable amount of bullying is linked to higher employee turnover intentions," the study said.

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