Workplace Bullying, Biased Behaviours and Performance Review in the Nursing Profession: A Qualitative Study

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Aims and objectives: To explore staff nurses’ discourses of workplace bullying, to critically examine how these discourses affect their responses to bullying. Background: Workplace bullying has been identified as a pervasive problem within the nursing profession. Efforts to eradicate workplace bullying need to involve staff—targets as well as bystanders. By understanding how this population conceptualises workplace bullying, more effective and targeted solutions to the problem can be devised. Design: This qualitative study used a critical discourse analysis method which was based on the work of Foucault. Methods: Thirteen staff nurses who worked in a variety of settings in the USA were interviewed. COREQ checklist was used for this article. Results: Three interrelated discursive strands were identified: “biased behaviour manifested as workplace bullying, workplace bullying disguised as performance review and workplace bullying as entrenched behaviour in nursing”. Actions in response to bullying varied according to which discursive strand was invoked. Conclusions: The central theme at the intersection of the discursive strands was that workplace bullying is a mechanism for driving out nurses who are different. Relevance to clinical practice: Efforts to address workplace bullying among nurses need to include training on legitimate methods of performance review, workshops on how to interact with diverse co-workers, and examination of how practices with nursing education contribute to the perpetuation of bullying in clinical settings. © 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd

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Journal of Clinical Nursing





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