October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, highlighting the dangers of bullying in all settings. The following is an excerpt from Ending Nurse-to-Nurse Hostility: Why Nurses Eat Their Young and Each Other by Kathleen Bartholomew, RN, MN that explores the dangers of cyberbullying in the nursing unit.
Facebook boasts more than 1.86 billion monthly users worldwide, with more than 40% of Americans logging in every single day. In 2007, Twitter reported 5,000 tweets a day; and in only six years, tweets jumped to more than 400 million. Ten years later in 2017, we tweet 6000 tweets per second. (Zephoria) Without a doubt, we have entered the digital world:
- Fifteen nurses received letters of warning from their State Board of Nursing after they were reported by their nurse executive for “liking” a derogatory comment that one nurse posted about a husband who was uncaring and unsupportive during childbirth. They did not heed the first warning.
- A nursing student was dismissed from the program after taking a picture of herself holding an unidentified placenta and proudly commenting how thrilled she was to assist at her first birth.
- A group of nurses who were friends started a conversation on Facebook which included several disparaging comments about a nurse they didn’t like, as well as remarks on the safety of the organization’s staffing levels.
We talk to each other on online chat rooms in casual conversations that feel so real we forget that no discussion in this virtual world is ever private. Every one of the nurses in the above situations had no idea that they were violating professional ethical guidelines by breaching confidence.
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