News: Nursing Times highlights a ‘bullying culture’. Managing harmful behaviour.

An article published in the Nursing Times talks of a ‘bullying culture between accident and emergency department nurses at a hospital trust in Merseyside has led to “tribal divisions” between staff and has been perpetuated by bosses failing to intervene, an independent report has found’. It goes on to say….

‘The behaviour has been going on for many years and is aimed at newly promoted band 6 sisters, according to the report on Arrowe Park Hospital, which is run by Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Unedifying” comments were made by staff about colleagues, which suggested they did not understand one another’s role, expertise or personal circumstances, said the researchers.

It includes nurses undermining colleagues in front of less experienced staff, “aggressively” challenging their decisions, withholding information, and making comments suggesting they did not deserve the promotion, said the report.

They warned that these behaviors had been allowed to persist due to senior staff failing to address the issues.

“By allowing them to go unchallenged, people have at least been given passive permission and at worst, inadvertent encouragement to behave badly.’                                           Carolyn

It is very sad to read an article about bullying in nursing, indeed bullying in any environment, as nurses are no different from anyone else, human beings, capable of immense care and also uncompassionate behaviour.

With the work that I do with healthcare professionals on developing and communicating empathy and their own emotional awareness, alongside my background of counselling, people are always interested in understanding where bullying behavior comes from. The unconscious processes often play emotionally and how often we don’t understand the psychological damage it can do to the person on the receiving end.

Although my training is not about bullying specifically, the areas looked at explores the power and lack of empathy toward another, along with a lack of emotional awareness, both individually and organisationally. However, it does this through analysis of a case study, my story, that in fact has elements of the above but in a situation whereby my openness and honesty, allow people to feel empathy, and challenge their own thinking and biases, in a supportive, non-threatening environment. 

We all carry around many influencing factors in how we communicate and behave. We all have the ability to be manipulative and defensive, as well as kind and open. We all catch emotions from another (why culture is so important). Leaders often screenshot-11ask me the best way to develop empathy in their organisation, and my answer is, for it to be demonstrated from the top. With empathy being one of the most crucial skills in leadership, it is vital that the message is loud and clear in the cultural vision.

We all have our own ‘Funnel of Life’ to contend with. It’s why honesty from others about their vulnerabilities and unhelpful emotions, as well as helpful ones, speak again and again to the many people I work with in training workshops, or conferences. Screenshot (236)

woman-2696408_1280Behaviour that causes psychological harm to another, must always be challenged, I have suffered psychological harm from healthcare professionals myself, and bullying attitudes. The change though comes in people the most when they actually understand why they act as they do, and start to recognise the impact they are having on another and desire to act differently. Empathy and emotional awareness are key factors in this. Often to get to that point, however, you need to create the right environment to for people to start to examine themselves and who they actually want to be in a supportive way.  

Carolyn Cleveland, C&C Empathy Training #empathyenvoy 

original news source:

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