Congress Daily

Instituting an Anti-bullying Protocol: The Benefits of Addressing Disruptive Behavior in Healthcare

  • Aug 11, 2019

Elyse Parchmont, DNP, CRNA, will be speaking about recognizing disruptive workplace behavior, developing an anti-bullying protocol, and creating a safe work environment on Monday, Aug. 12 from 2:15 - 3:15 p.m. AANA Congress Daily staff asked Parchmont to give us a preview of what someone who is being bullied can do, and which resources are available.

Congress Daily: How do you define “bullying”? What kind of behavior exemplifies bullying?

Elyse Parchmont: Violent acts directed toward persons at work or on duty.  Examples include, but are not limited to, verbal/physical abuse, sexual assault, active shooter situations.

This can be characterized by insults, intimidation, verbal threats, humiliation, or sabotage.  Other examples include, but are not limited to: sexual harassment, unresponsiveness, shouting, sarcasm, exclusion, and intentionally distancing the target.

Bullying is generally defined as unwelcome behavior in the workplace meant to harm someone who feels powerless to respond.

Congress Daily
: What recourse does someone have when they are being bullied? What is the best thing someone who is being bullied can to do to protect themselves?

Parchmont: The best thing to do is to address the perpetrator by standing up to them in a calm, professional manner, and also report the situation if need be. It should be noted that the outcome is not always positive. There are also resources available on the AANA website to aid CRNAs on bullying and disruptive behavior which are noted in the presentation and lecture. Providers can be educated as to what bullying is, and how to confront or report it. There is no real way to "protect" ourselves from bullying. An antibullying protocol is helpful; however, management must protect the target and address the perpetrator for the protocol to be effective.

Congress Daily
: Is there a way a person can lessen the opportunity for someone to bully them?

Parchmont: There really is not a way to lessen the opportunity, except to stay away from the bully if that is at all possible. Bullying is a problem stemming from the perpetrator, not the target, which is widely misunderstood. An antibullying protocol gives the delineation of the behavior and what will happen if the behavior is exhibited. This provides some degree of protection, but it must then be utilized swiftly and appropriately.

Congress Daily
: Is there a “most common” aggressor that one encounters in anesthesia or does it happen across the board? (i.e., supervisor to employee, CRNA to CRNA, CRNA to student, other healthcare professional to CRNA or SRNA?)

Parchmont: The majority are female perpetrators to female targets, but anyone can be bullied. A large portion of bullying incidents are supervisors or people that outrank the target, but the disruptive behavior can be lateral or horizontal. A bully may feel threatened by the target, for some reason, and act out inappropriately. Younger providers, students, and night shift workers are among those that are more likely to experience disruptive bullying behavior.

Congress Daily:
What if the person you would ordinarily report the bullying to is part of the problem and thus you can’t report it? What recommendations do you have?

Parchmont: This is a managerial/organizational problem. One cannot always remedy the issue. The bully will get fired in some circumstances, but sometimes it is the target that actually loses their job. Usually, if the target leaves the organization, the bully will eventually find another target, because the problem is with the perpetrator's lack of self awareness and social skills. Some things one can do when faced with a bully are to try to avoid them, confront them, educate others, report them, and seek counselling if the situation is causing an emotional toll.

Congress Daily
: Switching the tables a little here, how can a bully get help? What steps does someone who finally recognizes themselves as being a bully need to take to begin correcting their behavior?

Parchmont: To get help, a bully must first become aware of their problem.  They can seek counseling, educate themselves, or change positions/situations.

Congress Daily
: Do you have anything else you would like our members to know?

Parchmont: Please review the AANA resources listed in the power point at the end, and remember that help is always available from the AANA when in a crisis situation.

This session will be held Monday, Aug. 12, 2:15 - 3:15 p.m., in the Regency Ballroom C, Ballroom Level, West Tower, Hyatt Regency Chicago. Please double check all room assignments in the AANA Meetings app.