U of Cincinnati conference examines workplace violence, bullying, and incivility in healthcare

I just returned from the superb National Conference for Workplace Violence Prevention & Management in Healthcare Settings, hosted by the University of Cincinnati College of Nursing. This was one of those rare conferences where every speech, panel discussion, and poster session offered something informative and thought-provoking.

For the conference website, go here. Podcasts of conference programs will be posted during the summer.

Keynote address

An invitation to be one of the keynote speakers led to my being a part of the conference. Titled “Responding to Workplace Bullying in Healthcare: Ten Propositions,” here were my main points:

1.            The healthcare sector is an ideal locus for developing best practices to address workplace bullying, mobbing, and incivility.

2.            Somehow, someway, the case for taking workplace bullying seriously has to be made to the most powerful stakeholders, especially management.

3.            Medical schools need to inculcate students in the importance of developing and exercising social intelligence in the healthcare workplace.

4.            Nursing schools need to teach students about bullying behaviors and the need for personal resilience.

5.            Nurses’ unions are uniquely situated to raise concerns about workplace bullying.

6.            Physicians and nurses should not be promoted to management positions without training in management skills.

7.            Individuals who treat co-workers abusively should be counseled, disciplined, and – if necessary – dismissed.

8.            The enactment of legal protections against severe, targeted bullying at work could enhance, not hinder, the management and HR functions of the healthcare workplace.

9.            Internal codes of conduct in healthcare institutions should (1) promote responsible speech, (2) nurture civility, and (3) prohibit abuse.

10.          Research must inform practice, which — in turn — must inform research.

Many thanks

I won’t even attempt to provide a sampling of the good stuff we heard, though I will be discussing various presentations and poster displays in future blog posts. For now, I simply want to extend my gratitude to members of the conference committee, especially professors Gordon Lee Gillespie and Donna Gates and coordinator Katy Roberto Marston, for their extraordinary efforts and hospitality:

Gordon Lee Gillespie, PhD, RN, UC College of Nursing; principal investigator
Donna M. Gates, EdD, RN, FAAN, UC College of Nursing; co-investigator
Bonnie Fisher
, PhD, UC College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services
William K. Fant
, PharmD, University of Cincinnati College of Pharmacy
Barbara Forney
, Program Manager, University of Cincinnati College of Continuing Medical Education
Michelle Caruso
, PharmD, BCPS, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
Terry Kowalenko
, MD, FACEP, University of Michigan Emergency Medicine
Alison C. McLeish
, PhD; UC Department of Psychology
Dianne Ditmer
, PhD, RN, FACFE, Kettering Medical Network
Christine Luca
, MSN, RN, University of Cincinnati College of Nursing
Katy Roberto Marston
, Conference Coordinator, University of Cincinnati
Carolyn Smith
, PhD(c), RN, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
Ahlam Al-Natour
, PhD(c), RN, University of Cincinnati College of Nursing
Peggy Berry
, MSN, RN, University of Cincinnati College of Nursing

8 responses

    • What about the Companies that overlook or Down Play the fact that these actually happens,because mst of the time,if not all,the Managment will do anything in the power to protect the Abuser.
      More than not such as my case,the only one in Managment in the coorporate office are friends with the Owner/President of the Company,No outsiders are ever given the oportunity to mingle unless,they fit the requirements.

  1. I am so glad to see a conference on workplace violence in healthcare with such amazing people, including yourself. One of my workplace bullies has a two a two year nursing degree and was the “compliance officer”. They were out of compliance on every level you can imagine, she spent all of her time smoking and bullying. I have believed this particular woman is a psychopath and we know how clever they are at recreating themselves. She should not have had the job with the two year degree to begin with. She is now the VP of IT/R&D with a two year nursing degree. That pretty much describes the incompetence of the administration at that facility and adds much more evidence to my thinking she is a psychopath. It is so sad that after all this time and having me publicly tell my story they have allowed the bullying to continue. They recently fired a man who they admitted in court was the best person they had in behavioral health.

    • We all need to become aware of psychopaths. They are responsible for so much pain in the world. Psychopaths rise to the top in companies because of their glib impression-management skills, but they wreak destruction wherever they go because they only care about themselves and they enjoy hurting others.

  2. I am sad to see no mention of violence perpetrated by patients against health care workers as this is the most common form of violence experienced in health care, by far. Over 50% of ER nurses have already been physically assaulted while working, by patients or visitors. Almost 100% report experiencing verbal violence on an ongoing basis, also perpetrated by patients and visitors. I hope the conference addressed this important issue.

    • The patient violence issues took up about half the conference and yielded a lot of useful information and insights. If you look at my May 18 blog post — “Why we need psychologically healthy workplaces in the healthcare sector” — you’ll get a better sense of how these topics were approached at the conference.

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