Bullying and harassment 1 can become systematic and has social, health and economic consequences for those immediately involved, the organisation and patient safety 2.
The success of this strategy depends on awareness raising and sensitising our employees to identify inappropriate or negative behaviours.
We all have a duty not to ‘walk past’ when we see unacceptable behaviours, yet often we do just that. There are many reasons for this – a power imbalance, time pressures, the need to remain in favour with a colleague, fear of repercussions, ignorance, lack of empathy, and previous lack of action when behaviour has been raised – the reasons are many and varied and so are the behaviours.
We need to recognise inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour and learn how we can find better ways of challenging that behaviour, calling it out and taking action in a safe and effective manner.
If as individuals we have the commitment and courage to address negative behaviours before they become a pattern, we can build a respectful, healthy and positive workplace.
1 For definitions of ‘bullying’ and ‘harassment’ refer to the Appendix
2 Victorian Auditor-General’s Report: Bullying and Harassment in the Health Sector, March 2016