Monday, April 15, 2013

Book Review: "Do No Harm Applies To Nurses Too!"

Renee Thompson, MSN, RN, CMSRN, is a widely recognized national specialist on horizontal violence (also known as bullying) among nurses, and her new book, "Do No Harm Applies to Nurses Too" is a step-by-step guide to confronting this pernicious issue that impacts many aspects of 21st-century healthcare.
We've all heard stories of nurses "eating their young", nurses being bullied into resigning from their positions, and other nurses simply living with the fear of a known bully in their midst. Sometimes, it seems that bullies don't even know that they're bullies, and it takes an empowered (and somewhat fearless) colleague to tip them off about their behavior. At other times, it appears that some bullies know exactly what they're doing and do it for reasons that are multifaceted (and at times plainly disturbing).

Enter Renee Thompson and her excellent new book, "Do No Harm Applies to Nurses Too", and we are given chapters devoted to specific issues vis-a-vis horizontal violence, including but not limited to:
  • Identifying different types of bullies
  • The "why" behind nurse bully behavior
  • Profiles of nurse bullies
  • Steps to stop bullying
  • What to do if the bully is you
  • Action steps to confront bullying
  • A section specifically for organizations
  • Workplace communication skills
According to Ms. Thompson, bullying can be overt or covert, and it can involve simple actions such as rolling one's eyes, excluding colleagues or making sarcastic comments, or it can escalate into physical intimidation and other threatening behaviors.

The author shares the following in Chapter 1: 
"Conducting focus groups with students and newly graduated working nurses across a large health system years ago, I got an earful about the realities that nursing students and new nurses face. The picture wasn't pretty. As a facilitator, nurse and nurse educator, I had a hard time remaining objective while listening to stories of public criticism, lack of support, unrealistic workloads, exclusion, and pure rudeness. Some stories pointed to a disregard for patient safety as well as a disregard for common decency. It seemed every participant had a story to tell, each more horrific than the one before."
Horizontal violence among nurses contributes to burnout, compassion fatigue, nurse attrition, as well as stress-induced health problems for those who are on the receiving end of bullying. We can also surmise that bullying decreases productivity, eviscerates the concept of teamwork, and must certainly contribute to poor patient outcomes, medication errors and other avoidable problems in the healthcare workplace.

It's incredibly sad that a book of this kind is so necessary in these times, but reports (both anecdotal and research-based) suggest that bullying is rampant in our schools, our hospitals, and many other places where we interact, work or learn together.

In the course of her concise and informative book, Ms. Thompson provides self-assessment tools for identifying whether you have experienced bullying, as well as factors and personality traits that make a particular individual more of an attractive target for a bully.

For both individuals and organizations, "Do No Harm Applies to Nurses Too" provides clear, concise and useful steps for the identification and understanding of bullying as well as the eradication and control of such aberrant and disturbing behaviors.

Renee Thompson is a seasoned professional nurse and expert on horizontal violence and bullying. Along with other books on communication, "Do No Harm Applies To Nurses Too"  is a must for every nurse's personal library, as well as the libraries of healthcare institutions, administrators and nurse managers.

Renee travels the country extensively in order to speak on this important topic and offer targeted training to institutions who hire her as a consultant. She can be contacted on her informative website, RTConnections, and she will be a featured guest on RN.FM Radio on May 20th, 2013.

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