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RP nurses call for an end to bullying by US doctors, supervisors

NEW YORK - Jocelyn was a trainee nurse in a Queens hospital when a doctor yelled at her for asking a question: the spelling of the patient’s name.

"I wanted to be sure I got it right," she recalled, adding that the incident left her very upset and made her contemplate leaving the profession.

Grateful for the support of fellow Filipino nurses who rallied around her, Jocelyn is now a supervisor in another New York hospital. However she admits to still witness yelling directed toward young nurses. What she sees as a “rite of passage" is actually bullying at its crudest form.

“It’s quite common in the ICU or ER, where the pressure is so high," she said.

Bullying is a festering problem in the health care profession, and among its quietly suffering victims are the nurses, according to the Center for American Nurses that called for a “zero tolerance policy to disruptive behavior" in a position paper.

The Center described bullying as “an offensive, abusive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behavior, or abuse of power conducted by an individual or group against others, which makes the recipient feel upset, threatened, humiliated, or vulnerable, which undermines their self-confidence and which may cause them to suffer stress."

As a behavior, bullying is usually “persistent and systematic," said the Center. “The culture of the health care setting has been historically populated by images of the nurse as a ‘handmaiden’ in a patriarchal environment," said the position paper issued in February. “The balance of power has not been in the nurses’ favor."

The report said bullying is especially common among new nurses, resulting in young professionals having a feeling of “hopelessness and dissatisfaction." Verbal abuse does not come from organizational hierarchy such as physicians, nurse managers or supervisors, but also from patients’ families.

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hindi lang naman sa states yan eh. kahit dito madalas mangyari yan. from personal experience, ilan beses na po ako umiyak kasi doctors are shouting unreasonably and calling you names such as "tanga".. sometimes they feel kasi they're superiors to nurses because they're "doctors"..... professional din naman tayo like them. its just that we dont have the same title. respect lang naman diba? kasi we work on the same field..ehehe

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