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Bullying in Nursing and the Nurse Bully
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Bullying in Nursing and the Nurse Bully

This is the Nurse Blog Carnival hosted by in February, 2014. Topic: Bullying in Nursing

Bullying in Nursing




Brittney Wilson RN BSN,


Gail Ingram RN BSN,


Keith Carlson RN BSN,

Joyce Fiodembo RN BA,

Gail Ingram RN BSN,

Erica MacDonald RN MSN,

Caroline Porter Thomas RN BSN,

Renee Thompson RN DNP, guest post at

Sarah Wengert,


The NURSE BLOG CARNIVAL is a joint effort by established bloggers to bring focus on a particular topic in the profession of nursing.  By sharing our unique experiences and perspectives, the collaboration draws attention to an issue and sparks a conversation.

This week’s topic is BULLYING IN NURSING and each participant offers something of value in their posts:


Keith Carlson RN BSN—Nurse Bullies:  A Plague on Our House

In his post, Keith gets on his “Bully Pulpit” and inspires us to stand up for ourselves and others.  He makes it clear that hospital administration must develop a zero-tolerance policy because, “without the support from above, our continued struggle in the trenches will be in vain.”  On top of great content, he incorporates some fantastic nautical imagery and found use for the word “elucidate.”


Joyce Fiodembo RN BA—How Minority Nurses Can Avoid Being Bullied

Joyce points out the irony that bullying exists in a profession with, “the most caring human beings on the planet.”  She defines bullying and describes who and why someone becomes a target.  She offers 6 steps to follow if you are a victim.  She states that witnesses cannot remain silent and quotes the great Edmund Burke, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”


Gail Ingram RN BSN—Bullying in Nursing – It Isn’t Just for Kids – Mean Girls

This is my entry.  I explain certain aspects of bullying that are not often discussed and frequently misunderstood.  For example, why is it taking so long to get the word out?  Why is it still happening and what will make it stop?  I also provide a link to the literature review so that you can further evaluate the evidence.  I love to read peer-reviewed research in my spare time.  Maybe you do, too?


Erica MacDonald RN MSN—I Know Why Nurses Eat Their Young…  Maybe

Erica asks, “Why would educated and professional nurses engage in such poor behavior?”  Hint:  High school never ends!  She also describes how the concept of sacrifice allows nurses to accept bullying as the workplace norm.  She notes that slipping into the role of the bully might be easier than you think and perhaps the solution lies in arming nursing students with skills to “fend off the wolves.”


Caroline Porter Thomas RN BSN—Will I be Disrespected as a Nurse?

Caroline is the only vlog contributor on the roster and I wasn’t expecting what I saw in her video.  Her opening sequence is honest and it made me laugh.  Without spoiling it for you, I’ll add that she gives a quick pep talk about self-esteem and provides 4 keys to success.  She is a little ray of sunshine while talking about a topic that can be utterly depressing.


Renee Thompson RN DNP—Ending Nurse Bullying: “Freire Style”

In an effort to end nurse bullying, Renee parallels the work of Paulo Freire, a sociologist who studied human behavior, particularly oppression.  She finds that self-reflection, enhanced communication skills, believing in oneself, and being nice are all part of the solution.  She reminds us we “deserve to work in a nurturing and supportive environment, free from bullies.  To do that requires that we all take action.”


Sarah Wengert—How to Stop Travel Nurse Bullying

Sarah identifies the frequency of bullying and clarifies the difference between vertical and horizontal violence.  She brings the statistics and makes the connection between bullying, patient safety, and financial consequences.  She offers sound advice for travel nurses (AKA temporary contract nurses) who are often targets of staff bullies.


If you are a nurse blogger and want to participate in a future BLOG CARNIVAL please learn more here.


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  • Such a great article on the really serious nursing topic!
    Great job Gail!!

    • Avatar Nurse Gail says:

      You are so kind, Caroline. I wish it wasn’t a topic at all. Thanks for your positive contribution to the Blog Carnival.

  • Sine I have been the victim of bullying, this topic is very near and dear to my heart. You’ve done an excellent job covering it and providing excellent resources for nurses to both avoid it and know what to do when they experience it.
    Thank you so much for this valuable contribution, not on the the nurse blog carnival, but to arsenal of nurses who are facing bullying at work or may face it in the future.

    • Avatar Nurse Gail says:

      Thanks for the kind words. I didn’t have the skill or guidance when I worked with bullies so it is my pleasure to provide any insight to others. I hope it is of use. Let’s keep the conversation going so that bullying will end.

  • Glad to contribute to this topic. Almost every day a nurse reaches out to me for help dealing with a bullying situation. These nurses practice all over the world!! I spend a lot of my time helping individuals and organizations to stop the cycle of bullying. It’s so wrong – doesn’t belong in a profession dedicated to caring and compassion!

    Warmest regards

    • Avatar Nurse Gail says:

      The number of nurses reaching out means we are nowhere near solving this problem. I’m so glad that you are committed to this issue. If there is any way I can help, please let me know.

  • Avatar Jackie Jeffs says:

    Thanks for this- I have also been a victim of bullying. Lost my job as of April 16 2013. They told me that I was ” not a good fit”. I received so much support from the patients of the doctor I worked for, they had told me that they knew what a certain staff member was up to.

    • Avatar Nurse Gail says:

      Ugh. So sorry to hear that. I hope you are on to bigger and better things. There is a better fit for you, I’m sure of it.

  • Avatar Cesar says:

    Wow, such great blog posts and input in the world of Nurse Bullying, I really cant say that have been a victim of Nurse Bullying but I have definitely have seen it!!

    As nurses we should embrace our differences and uplift one another, no matter
    what the circumstances… in the best interest of the patients.

    • Avatar Nurse Gail says:

      This really is a patient safety issue and anyone who disagrees needs some education STAT. When a nurse suffers, the patient suffers. More and more research is being generated that supports this and policy change doesn’t occur without empirical data. I think we all want what is best for our patients! Thank you for reading and commenting.

  • Gail, loved your entry in this carnival. Specifically, your low self-esteem point and how it plays into bullying. Def. agree. poor self esteem had the potential to invade every aspect of life from the bully (feeling the need to bully) to the victim (allowing their-selves to be bullied) to other life issues such as domestic abuse and addiction. Great job!

  • Nurse bullying is costly for health care employers. It often results in increased turnover when nurses who are bullied choose to quit their jobs, rather than remain in a work environment that makes them miserable. And this is what happened with Jackie Jeffs. That shouldn’t stop you. You’ll always be a perfect fit for someone else, or somewhere else. It was the right thing to do.

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