I was nodding in agreement as I read Cheryl A. Dellasega's "Bullying Among Nurses" (January). As a student nurse and patient care technician at a major Boston hospital, I often swap stories with my classmates about being treated poorly by nurses. Of course, hostility among health care workers is not a recent phenomenon. The difference now is that individuals, institutions, and the Joint Commission recognize its effects on individual well-being as well as on care delivery and patient safety.1, 2 Clearly, it is time for institutions and individuals to intervene, and policy enforcement will be crucial to eliminating bullying.
Dellasega suggests what nurse managers can do to address bullying, but what if the aggressor is the manager? It's vitally important that institutions have systems in place for reporting vertical as well as lateral aggression. Protection must be offered to those who report bullying by either peers or managers. If institutions and the Joint Commission are serious about reducing bullying, everyone must feel comfortable reporting it. All of us have a responsibility to stand up to bullying and be aware of our own aggressive tendencies.
Christine L. Bookbinder
2. Trossman S. Behaving badly? Joint Commission issues alert aimed at improving workplace culture, patient care. Am Nurse
2008;40(5):1, 6, 12.