Bullying Culture in the Nursing Workforce

Bullying is one of the major forms of violence that can occur in any workforce, including nursing. Considering its negative impact on victims’ overall well being and emotion (psychological damage), workplace bullying is now recognised as a major occupational hazard.

Many nursing literatures have suggested that bullying is prevalent in the nursing workplace around the world. It has been an international phenomenon not limited to the healthcare.

This essay discusses bullying within nursing from a socio-cultural perspective. The aim is to get a better understanding of this widespread phenomenon. Firstly, it examines the factors contributing to bullying and bullying culture within the nursing workforce. The essay will then discuss the social consequences/effects of bullying, What are the implications for patients?

Does this ‘keep alive’ further generation of nurse to become bullies?

Causes of bullying in nursing workforce

Empirical evidence suggests that bullying develops

from multiple causes, which may be associated with both individual-related (i.e.

personality and coping; see e.g. Vartia, 1996; Zapf, 1999) and work-related characteristics

(i.e. aspects of the job, the team or the organization; Einarsen et al., 1994; Zapf, Knorz, &

While valuable in highlighting potential antecedents of the genesis of

bullying, these studies remain rather explorative and do not analyse how these factors cause

bullying. Specifically, research to date has suggested various explanatory hypotheses

which urge a theoretical and empirical integration. Furthermore, research has solely

focussed on victims, due to methodological difficulties to investigate perpetrators.

Accordingly, these studies do not explain how one may become perpetrator versus victim.

bullying resulted out of three ‘tracks’

or ‘pathways’ within a global model (see Figure 1): (a) intrapersonal frustrations

(‘strains’), (b) interpersonal conflict and (c) explicit or implicit stimulation through teamand

organizational characteristics (intragroup aspect).

Examples of such frustrations and strains were

experiencing low job satisfaction, feeling unhappy about recent changes in the

organization or going to work after yet another sleepless night. Facing these frustrations

in an effective way (‘effective coping’, e.g. by discussing the problem from the start, or by

being optimistic and focussing on future improvements) reduced the likelihood of

becoming a perpetrator or a victimof workplace bullying. In contrast, reducing strains in an

ineffective way (‘ineffective coping’, e.g. by ruminating, by persistent complaining about

the situation or by being stubbornly convinced that one cannot change the situation)

resulted in workplace bullying.

Provides theoretical basis for analysis

Evidence of critical evaluation of differing positions evident in the literature

Justifies statements / arguments with relevant literature

You will also be required to demonstrate an understanding of the relevance of your selected topic to the nursing profession and its implications for future directions in nursing.

overview of the issue, its relevance and impact on the nursing profession and implications for the future.

Social consequences/effect

Pressures for graduate nurses to conform to social structures

Does this ‘keep alive’ further generation of nurse to become bullies?

What are the implications for patients?


summarise the important points you feel you have made.

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