Increased workplace bullying against nurses during COVID-19: a health and safety issue

Publication type
Journal article
Somani R, Muntaner C, Smith PM, Hillan EM, Velonis AJ
Date published
2022 Jun 01
Journal of Nursing Education and Practice
Open Access?

Nurses are the backbone of healthcare organizations. However, as frontline workers, nurses are regularly exposed to perilous conditions and workplace harassment, with a few or no avenues to report or seek adequate support. This causes frustration and stress among nurses and can eventually lead to compromised patient care. This also contributes to workplace bullying, which results in a toxic and stressful work environment. This problem is a global health and safety issue due to its highly negative impact on both individuals and organizations. Recent studies indicate that the COVID 19 pandemic has significantly increased incidents of workplace bullying against nurses. Several contributing factors have been highlighted, when considering the underlying causes of workplace bullying against nurses, including power disparity, organizational attributes, and the image of nurses, as portrayed in the media. Because the pandemic has brought the challenge of creating a safe work environment for nurses to the fore, now more than ever, healthcare organizations need to take bold actions to protect nurses. Nursing management needs to implement bullying prevention interventions that provide nurses with a safe work environment. Using empirical and theoretical literature as its basis, this paper aims to discuss workplace bullying against nurses and consider how this problem has been impacted by the COVID 19 pandemic. This paper recommends the application of a Socio Ecological Model (SEM), which provides evidence-based interventions intended to reduce workplace bullying against nurses.