The Facebook post from Adra’s mom read, “Good morning, hope you had a good shift, get some sleep, chat later”.
Adra arrives home from her chaotic night shift on a busy pediatric ICU unit. Before she heads to bed she checks Facebook and notices the post from her mom. Adra replies: “Thanks mom, it was a horrible shift, that same nurse called in sick again, so we worked short staffed. It was really busy and we all had to pick up an extra patient. I will give you a call when I get up; I’m exhausted and have another night shift tonight.”
Mandy, a friend and co-worker, reads the post and replies, “Just to give you a heads up, she called in “sick” again so brace yourself for another wild one I don’t know why the manager doesn’t do something about her”.
Beth, the RN they’re talking about, called in sick the past two night shifts.
Beth is still feeling ill and has called in sick again for her shift tonight. She just hasn’t been able to shake the virus that is going around and doesn’t want to bring it into the unit. She feels bad that she’s leaving the unit short staffed creating additional work for her colleagues.
At first, Beth got along with all of her colleagues, but she’s overheard Mandy belittling her in front of patients and visitors and her colleagues have told her that Mandy has made negative comments about her to them.
Another friend and colleague, Sue, isn’t really surprised when she sees Mandy’s comments on Facebook since she is aware that Mandy has made negative verbal comments about Beth to her before. The eye rolling emoji and the connotation of the word “sick” indicates to Sue that perhaps Mandy doesn’t believe that Beth is really sick and this makes her feel sorry for Beth. Sue and Beth started on the unit at the same time and get along well. Sue isn’t too sure what she should do next but she feels that she should do something to support Beth.
Bullying is an act of psychological or social aggression that is perpetrated by one individual against another either overtly or covertly.
Bullying is generally defined as a situation in which a person perceives himself/herself as the target of negative actions, persistently over time, by one or several others (Rodwell & Demir, 2012). It often presents as repetitive acts of verbal aggression and criticism but may take more subtle forms, such as placing someone under scrutiny or talking behind another’s back (Szutenbac, 2013). These behaviors range from gossiping to withholding information and even ostracism, these behaviors may occur within the workplace setting or extend into cyberspace.
Bullying is often not identified early. It is often identified retrospectively, typically after a severe incident or if a co-worker identifies it.
CARNA’s social media guidelines reminds us: don’t post disparaging remarks about co-workers. Canadian Nurses Protective Society (CNPS) reminds us in their infoLAW on social media to:
It is important to remember when using social media that a breach in professional standards may result in an investigation into allegations of unprofessional conduct and when required action to bring the practice of the registered nurse up to the practice standards expected by CARNA.
Our case studies are fictional educational resources. While we strive to make the scenarios as realistic as possible, any resemblance to actual people or events is coincidental.