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Can nursing bullying result in medical malpractice?

There are pecking orders in many industries. You and other Tennessee residents might be surprised to learn that bullying is quite common in nursing. In fact, most nurses may experience or witness bullying to some degree at least once during their careers. The unfortunate fact is that being bullied or bullying others on the job can significantly affect the quality of patient care.

The Journal of Emergency Medical Services explains that numerous surveys of health care workers indicated that the job performance of bullied nurses is often negatively impacted, and patients’ safety and well-being is often put at risk. Also, the data revealed that the health care industry is rife with bullying, more than any other industry in the country.

Bullying in nursing can include the following situations:

  • Nurses with more experience or seniority intimidating and putting down younger, less experienced nurses
  • Spreading rumors about another nurse, undermining her work or taking credit for her achievements
  • Sabotaging other nurses’ duties
  • Excluding nurses from social activities
  • Shouting, name-calling or physically attacking other nurses

Those who are constantly bullied can suffer from extreme stress at work and may begin to perform poorly. This might be the goal of the bullies, but patients can become unwitting victims in the crossfire. A nurse suffering from anxiety and nervousness may not be paying full attention to his or her duties and make a grievous mistake during your care. A bullied nurse could neglect your medication schedule, perform a procedure improperly or fail to write important information on your chart.

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