#EndBullying – Promoting a Culture of Respect in Continuing Care

February 4, 2015 | News

Download this poster and have your team take the #EndBullying pledge.

February is home to Pink Shirt Day, a national anti-bullying event that promotes respect and tolerance. In recognition of that, SafeCare BC is challenging you to help #EndBullying in the continuing care workplace.

Why the focus on bullying? Estimates of the prevalence of workplace bullying and harassment in health care indicate that the vast majority of health care workers experience or witness it. A survey of 461 nurses done by Sofield and Salmond (2003) found that 91% had experienced bullying and harassment at work over the past month[1]. Similarly, another survey found 95% of nurses had witnessed bullying, and 71% had been a target of it[2]. Comparable results have been found among resident care aides[3],[4]

Workplace bullying and harassment is a serious issue that negatively impacts morale, trust, and communication among staff. Research from the Canada Safety Council shows that bullied staff members spend between 10 to 52 percent of their time at work defending themselves, networking for support, thinking about the situation, and taking sick leave due to stress-related illnesses[5].

Click here for bite-sized tips & tools on creating safe workplaces

Click here for bite-sized tips & tools on creating safe workplaces

Victims of bullying experience anxiety, sleep disturbances, depression, and burnout[1]. It’s also not just the victims of bullying who are affected: those who witness bullying and harassment in the workplace are at increased risk of developing depressive symptoms[6].

In addition, bullying and harassment can have serious safety consequences and negatively impact resident care. Communication systems break down because people fear ridicule or punishment for speaking up about safety issues[2]. Staff burnout results in staffing shortages[1]. Innovation stalls, because people are unwilling to take a risk to put new ideas forward[2]. In short, bullying and harassment isn’t just a personal problem – it’s everyone’s problem.

So how can you get involved and help #EndBullying? Starting this month, we’re introducing several new features to help support your workplace:

  • Safety in 60 Seconds:
    • Quick, bite-sized tips and tools for managers and OHS committee members to help create safer, healthier workplaces
  • The Huddle:
    • Named after “safety huddles”, this section provides team leaders, OHS committee members, and other interested staff with quick, impactful activities that can be done as group activities in 10 minutes or less
  • Teleforum: Workplace Detox – Addressing Bullying and Harassment in Continuing Care
    • During this free teleforum, participants will:
      • Learn about what bullying and harassment may look like
      • Understand what organization and individual responsibilities are
      • Discover practical ways to create more respectful, inclusive environments
    • #EndBullying on social media
      • Get connected on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn with our #EndBullying campaign and tell us what you or your organization is doing to create a more respectful workplace!

Providing the very best in care in our sector is all about teamwork. Teams thrive in environments that promote trust, respect, and caring. This February, we invite you to help create a better, more respectful, and more caring environment for yourself and your colleagues. Together, we can #EndBullying.

[1] Sofield, L., Salmond, S. 2003. Workplace violence. A focus on verbal abuse and intent to leave the organization. Orthopaedic Nursing, 22(4):274-83.

[2] Eggertson, L. “Targeted”. Canadian Nurse, June 2011.

[3] Andersen, E. 2008. Being below the horizon: The dwelling place of the nurse aide. International Journal for Human Caring, 12(4):15-20.

[4] Banerjee, A., Daly, T., Armstrong, P., Szebehely, M., Armstrong, H., Lafrance, S. 2012. Structural violence in long-term, residential care for older people: Comparing Canada and Scandinavia. Social Science & Medicine, 74, 390-398

[5] Canada Safety Council. 2002. “Bullying in the Workplace.” Legal Focus on Risk and Insurance Strategies 6:18-9.

[6] Emdad, R., Alipour, J., Hagberg, I., Jensen, B. 2012. The impact of bystanding to workplace bullying on symptoms of depression among women and men in industry in Sweden: an empirical and theoretical longitudinal study. International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, 86(6):709-16.