Why You Should Stand Up to Incivility: Q&A With Rhonda Croft

February 15, 2019 | News

Bullying and incivility is a major problem in workplaces, homes, schools, and online.  SafeCare BC and its members can play a role in creating safe, healthy, and civil workplaces.

As part of its Civility Matters! campaign, SafeCare BC invites you to participate in a webinar on February 27. Rhonda Croft, Acting Executive Councillor with the BC Nurses’ Union, will be one of the panelists discussing the concept of incivility in the workplace, and strategies for staff and leaders on how to create better work environments. Rhonda has researched workplace incivility and is passionate about this issue.


Why is this an important issue for you?
Workplace bullying, harassment, and incivility resonates with me, because I experienced it when I was a new nurse, and I have heard countless stories of other people who have experienced it. Why are we being uncivil to each other? There is bullying from top down and bullying between workers. Why is this happening when we work in a caring profession?


Does everyone have a responsibility to help foster more civil workplaces?

Definitely. We know that healthcare workers are challenged, working short-staffed, the complexity of care is increasing, and frustrations abound. We all need to be mindful of how we are showing up at work. How we treat each other is key. We need to stand up for each other, challenge inappropriate behaviors when we see them, and ensure we are not part of the problem.


What can people do?
We have a checklist that lists a range of behaviours that can lead to workplace incivility. It can be very small things, such as eye-rolling. Because we often do things unconsciously, we can be part of the problem, without even being aware of it. And we need to move from being silent witnesses to incivility and report it. You don’t have to be best friends with the people you work with, but basic human kindness can go a long way. We also need to take advantage of self-care strategies.


Why should organizations dedicate resources to address bullying, harassment, and workplace incivility?
We know that it is not only the law for employers to provide respectful workplaces, it is also the right thing to do. We know that people suffer psychological injury more than they do physical injury. Our nurses have told us they worry more about being bullied at work than they do about being hit by their patients. People are leaving the profession, and we won’t be able to retain staff if this continues. Civility actually matters. And we’re fooling ourselves if we think this doesn’t affect the people we are caring for. It’s of interest to everyone. Changing culture takes time, but we need to normalize that incivility isn’t acceptable.


Check out last week’s Q&A with Dr. Heather Cooke: How Incivility Can Impact Your Workplace.  


Register for the Civility Matters! webinar on February 27