Bullying in the Workplace: Immature Occurrence, or Symptom of Something Worse?

The noble profession of healthcare; where the work started off from compassion and spirit of alleviating others’ suffering.

It is however, very unfortunate that physicians and nurses are not spared from the issue of bullying. We tend to think that bullying only occurs in schools, and are surprised to hear that it also happens in immature settings.

Bullying is a form of directing the bullies’ dissatisfaction inward or towards each other, themselves, and towards those who are less powerful and influential than themselves.

Examples of bullying in the workplace include being spoken in a belittling manner or being lambasted by the older generation for being weak and spoilt.

Studies show that Asian healthcare workers report the largest quantity of workplace-related bullying. The study was carried out in Singapore, showing abuse by nurse managers and colleagues. It also implies that 70% of the staff choose not to report workplace incidents, suggesting that the number of bullying cases might be even higher.

Bullying cases may not be always obvious. It might not be someone yelling at a poor junior nurse in the OT in front of everyone. Shaming, spreading malicious rumors about a co-worker still is bullying, and so are refraining from promotions or the right to take leave.

Why it happens

As previously mentioned, bullying not only happens at immature settings such as in schools, but also at workplaces all the way up to the higher echelons. A stressful environment, poor working conditions and poor leadership are prime vectors for bullying cases in the workplace.

The perpetrators involved in these cases are usually the ones in power. They exercise their power over helpless individuals, humiliating and belittling them in order to make them feel superior. They are usually authoritative, and oppressive in behavior.

There is also a pattern in the victims of such bullying. Doctors and nurses below the age of 30 reported to be more likely to experience workplace bullying. This is due to their position in the workforce- they are generally the lowest tier amongst everyone else, and are prime candidates to be targeted by perpetrators wanting to flex their authority without much of a pushback.

Another study conducted in Asia showed that nurses with high levels of anxiety were almost five times more likely to experience verbal abuse. Because they are by nature unsure of themselves, they do not have the mental standing to push away from bullies’ abuse. Other personality types that are highly associated with bullying are those who are inexperienced, less assertive with their work, lower confidence, and have vulnerable personalities.

Effects

Decline in productivity and effectiveness of care

The physical and emotional health of the victims decreases, which ultimately leads to worse quality of care for patients.

Victims report headaches, sleeping disorders, and medical errors done, which in turn leads to an increase in absenteeism. An increase in absenteeism due to health issues leads to understaffing of a healthcare institution.

Incur costs

Lower morale from victims results in a higher employee turnover rate. This is costly towards the institution; it is far more expensive to constantly replace employees compared to keeping them and increasing their pay year after year. It just doesn’t make much financial sense.

Higher intetion to quit the job leads to career burnouts whuch are much earlier than normal. Impacting non-workplace relationships as well.

Death

When nurse managers or MOs abuse their co-workers by refusing their right to leave, catastrophic results follow. Malaysian newspaper “The Star” reported in May that concerns have been rising about road accidents among tired and overworked doctors. Not too long ago a houseman in Kota Bharu Hospital hit a cow on the way home and died. Nurul Huda Ahmad, a paediatrician in training, died in a motor vehicle accident after nearly 33 hours on duty.

Ways to Stop It

It is not enough to simply tell the staff to “just stop the bullying.” The superiors of the workplace have to encourage their staff to speak out and report any instances or cases immediately. In addition to promoting a safe environment where employees can do so, employers must train effective communication skills to promote reporting as being viewed as an acceptable and necessary behavior.

Moreover, the training provided must encompass business etiquette that touches upon cultural sensitivity practices, and educate the workforce on negative working behaviors. Sometimes, the bullies may not even know about what they’re doing, until pointed out to them.

In the case of management, policies set in place creates a code of conduct to stop these cases. It is important to enforce it consistently for all staff members. Document any violations. This mitigate behaviors like persistent criticism that has no basis.

The way forwards

The act of bullying in a healthcare settings must not and cannot be left to fester. It creates a lot of damage and losses for both the institution and the people working in them. Most of all, the impact on patient’s safety is hit the hardest.

Patients place their utmost trust in the medical world to help them recover and lead productive lives again. Compromised care can deal potential harm in patients; it can mean the difference between a sound mind and a vegetative state, a living patient or a dead one.

If the medical field is to become the bastion of healing and wellness, then it must address this recalcitrant issue and not let it grow like an unwanted tumor, damaging the whole system in the process.



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  1. Start high  
 2. Look for an agreeable outcome  
 3. Be aware of supply in the area  
 4. Rates are not permanent  
 5. Negotiate other aspects of your rates  

 Locum Jobs 

 An advantage of taking up locum jobs to boost your income is that you have some flexibility to work. You choose the schedule that you are available to fit into. Also, it can  improve your CV  for future job applications at other institutions by showing that you have a diverse set of employers. 

 For new nurses, doing locum allows you extra time and exposure to choose how you want to plan out your nursing career. Like selecting a specialization. You can read more on the  advantages of doing locum to increase your income here . 

 People seem to be paralyzed into inaction when it comes to setting rates, simply accepting whatever the clinic offers to pay you. While this article focuses on nurses doing locum jobs at private practices, we hope that these points will still be able to help doctors, pharmacists, dentists, and other healthcare practitioners as well. 

 1. Start high 

   

  source: @dan_carl5on  

 Start out by always proposing a rate higher than you would. It doesn’t have to be a lot. 

 Say your desired rate is RM20 an hour. Just mention RM25 as your starting rate. You can slowly reduce it to the price that you sought out initially when discussing with the clinic or institution. 

 You don’t want to be working with people who feel like they have to squeeze the most out of their budget to accommodate you. Such scenarios do not lead to healthy long-term relationships. It’s better to make them feel like they’ve got a good deal. 

 2. Look for an agreeable outcome 

   

  source: pixabay  

 Remember, the owner of the clinic wants to fill some gaps in his workforce, and you want to get paid. Think of it as a bridge. Both of you are on either side. The best outcome is if you both meet in the middle. 

 Don’t rip people off. Good negotiation is about both parties walking away feeling like they both got a good deal. If you think that milking out money from people to the point where they are reluctantly agreeing to your prices, think again. That relationship isn’t going to last very long. 

 The best employer (whether they employ you full-time or otherwise) is one that continuously offers you work. They can’t do that if they don’t like you. 

 3. Be aware of supply in the area 

   

  source: pixabay  

 A lot of nurses doing locum jobs in the area? That might affect your locum fees. Try to look for clinics or institutions that have an under-supply of part-time nurses. The main reason why your locum employer is paying you below average is probably because a replacement for you is so easy to find. 

 Price is a reflection of the demand for the locum jobs and the supply of those capable of doing it in the area. This is commonly known as the law of supply and demand in economics. It applies here as well. 

 4. Rates are not permanent 

   

  source: here  

 Rates are not set in stone. Even if you’ve negotiated quite a while ago, you can still make some changes if you approach the employer tactfully. 

 Explain that you’ve been here for a while, and that you haven’t let him/her down. So you’d like an increase in your rates. 

 The worst thing that can happen is they say no. Don’t worry. It’s not the end of the world. At least you tried. 

 5. Negotiate other aspects of your rates 

   

  source: pixabay  

 While there is a fixed rate for your schedule, try to consider other aspects as well. Things like emergency calls, or last-minute requests to come in for locum. 

 Make it clear to the employer that these are out-of-the-norm occurrences, and that you would like to be compensated accordingly. 

 6. Losing locum jobs is not necessarily a bad thing 

   

  source: blupics  

 When increasing your rates, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Doubling your rates but losing half of locum opportunities is great. You get the same amount at the end, but work half as much, which frees up your time. 

 Plus, sometimes someone who charges RM40 per hour looks more professional and qualified than someone who charges RM20 per hour. 

 Conclusion 

 Don’t just look at financial rates; benefits are important as well. Is the job good for your reputation? Are they likely to recommend you to others? 

 Is the work consistent and secure? Do you trust the employer? 

 Remember these 6 steps when negotiating your fees.  If you don’t value your time, no one else will.  

 Browse through  MIMS Career  for an easy way to find locum or part-time jobs in your area.  MIMS Career  is a premier, healthcare-focused job portal site for Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and Indonesia. Our simple sign-up process allows you to easily apply for jobs you might be interested in with a single click. Job locations include hospitals, nursing homes, and private practices. It’s free, easy to use, and safe. 

 Can’t find what you’re looking for? Set up a job alert and we’ll notify you by email whenever positions that suit your preferences are available. All of our pages are mobile-responsive, so you can take your applications with you on the go. 
   

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 Finding a new job can be very tiring, and time-consuming. It can be difficult to schedule some time to your job-seeking activities. However, the end of the year is a period of time you don’t want to miss if you want to maximize your chances of landing that precious new job. Here are four reasons why: 

  1. Employers are getting ready for the New Year  

   

 Traditionally people wouldn’t advise you to hunt for a job at the end of the year, when employers have maxed their yearly budgets and are just closing the financial year with some wrap-up activities. 

 But growing evidence seems to suggest otherwise: as employers return from the holidays with a renewed vigor, new goals, and new KPIs, they are more inclined to act upon your application immediately. 

  2. Employers have plans for 2018  

   

 Whether its a big hospital, a small clinic, or a humble retirement home, everybody uses the last few weeks of the year to reflect back on their performance in order to stay afloat. It is normally during these periods of time that they make the decision to allocate budgets to hire new staff… 

 So get to applying! 

  3. You’re ready to apply for one  

   

 The best time to apply for a job is also whenever you feel you’re ready. 

 When you want new experiences, new training, different exposure, or an increase in salary… you know it’s time to go. 

 So update your resume, acquire new skills, and hunt for that job. 

  4. You’re starting to feel miserable at your job  
 
  
Find yourself feeling unnaturally tired? Even if you’ve been getting enough sleep? 

 If you’ve been exhibiting signs of stress due to your current job like fatigue, headaches, migraines and depression, it’s probably a sign that you should cut your losses and look for opportunities elsewhere. 

 Don’t think it’s your fault for not being able to fit in… sometimes the shoe just doesn’t fit.

4 Reasons You Should Apply For A New Job NOW

Finding a new job can be very tiring, and time-consuming. It can be difficult to schedule some time to your job-seeking activities. However, the end of the year is a period of time you don’t want to miss if you want to maximize your...

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