Bullying or aggressive behaviors between healthcare providers, such as verbal abuse and intimidation, can be a threat to safe patient care. Bullying behaviors can inhibit teamwork, obstruct communication, and delay implementation of new practices; it can interfere with patient care. This type of behavior may contribute to low worker morale, absenteeism, and high rates of staff turnover. A query of the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Reporting System (PA-PSRS) database revealed 44 events associated with bullying behaviors over a two-year period. Strategies to reduce bullying behaviors include scripting methods to speak up to bullying in an assertive manner, such as D.E.S.C. (i.e., describe, express, suggest, consequences); role playing through simulation to practice confronting a bully; instituting zero tolerance anti-bullying policies with leadership enforcement; and enhancing staff awareness of human resources and management support.
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