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Nurse Bullying's Corrosive Effect on Colleagues Confirmed

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, July 23, 2012

Workplace bullying is particularly germane to healthcare because, as the study notes, it is "a prevalent phenomenon in the healthcare industry and nurses tend to have a greater likelihood of experiencing such harmful behaviors than other healthcare professionals. Furthermore, bullying in the healthcare industry is associated with a host of negative job-related and health-related outcomes."

The study's four authors, faculty members at the University of British Columbia, said their findings suggest that bullying violates the "deontic model of justice" which provokes a negative response regardless of the victim because the behavior violates accepted standards.

"We argue that working in an environment in which others are bullied will create a sense of moral uneasiness that will contribute to their own turnover intentions, regardless of whether one personally experiences bullying," the study said.

Nurses are more likely to empathize with a bullied colleague rather than with the abusive coworker or supervisor.

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