As the ANMF OHS Bullying and Discrimination Officer – Vic Branch, I provide advice to members about inappropriate workplace behaviours and assist members to resolve workplace issues. I am not a nurse or midwife, though I do have experience in the health care industry having worked as an occupational therapist. Prior to joining the ANMF I practiced as a workplace relations lawyer.
When considering the members I represent — nurses, midwives and personal carers — I have seen complaints involving managers, colleagues in the same role, Doctors, surgeons and even CEOs. On rarer occasions patients, residents or family members can even be involved. There is no easily identifiable pattern.
It is well known that workplace bullying and inappropriate behaviour can be extremely harmful to an individual’s health and may seriously affect their ability to do their job. Physiological and psychological effects of bullying can include:
- high levels of stress
- anxiety and/or panic attacks
- loss of self-confidence
- physical illness such as digestive problems and headaches
- depression, and deteriorating relationships with colleagues, family and friends.
Tragically, these behaviours can also lead to self-harm and suicide.
Separate to the effects on an individual, bullying and inappropriate workplace behaviours can also have a significant impact on the workplace environment leading to low staff morale, decreased productivity, and high staff turnover.