The objective of this paper is to reflect on Ana and Clare’s presentation regarding the harassment and discrimination of nurses within the workplace. I selected this topic for my own interest because it represents a major issue that is currently affecting nurses around the world. One of the reasons as to why nurses face harassment in their areas of work is because of the physical and sentimental aspects of their profession. Simply, nurses form physical and emotional relationships with their patients, the patient’s family, and members of the staff such as administrators and physicians. Because of such connections, nurses are usually exposed to increased risks of sexual harassment. In this respect, it is important to address such issues because of the negative effects they have on the nurses and the general nursing profession. Lack of awareness concerning the issue will only affect the patients considerably.
A Personal Encounter of Harassment and Discrimination
Indeed, as students, the rate of harassment is high in our clinical sitting. From my own experience, I have encountered instances of harassment twice while working in my assigned clinical surroundings. During the first encounter, I was harassed while working in the urinary department at the Hamad General Hospital. While attending to male patients with urinary complications, I was assigned to develop a cauterization for one of the patients. Initially, participation in the exercise was emotionally draining for me mainly due to my cultural prohibitions. However, I tried as much as possible to be positive despite the uneasy nature of this particular situation. After I was done with the procedure, the patient said unashamedly that, “you hold my penis so gently, will you marry me?” After that incident, I reported the incident to my instructors and ever since, I have been unable to be alone and close with a patient.
Different Types of Harassment and Discrimination and Influential Factors
Interestingly, my instructor has faced different types of discrimination, which tend to take place in the workplace. In definition, discrimination occurs when an individual is treated less favorably in comparison to another person due to protected qualities such as sex, gender, and numerous other factors. A video shown by Ana and Clare provided us with a great understanding of the different forms of discrimination that exist in the workplace. The nursing environment usually shows the types of harassment and discrimination that nurses face on a daily basis. Usually, these forms of prejudice affect women specifically due to a number of factors. One of these factors involves the sexual orientation of the nurse. Female nurses are more at risk of harassment and discrimination than male nurses are. This is because of cultural stereotypes, which tend to neglect the wellbeing of the woman and the capabilities that she possesses.
Aside from a factor such as sexual orientation, another factor may include race. Race has been used significantly as a means of advancing discrimination within the clinical setting. With these factors, Bell, McLaughlin, and Sequeira (2002) provides three forms of discrimination which affecting nurses and other women personnel working within the general official workplace. The first of these types is overt discrimination. Overt discrimination involves the use of sexual orientation as a means to make decisions related to employment such as recruitment, hiring, and promotion. The second form of discrimination involves sexual harassment. Even though harassment can be viewed on its own, sexual harassment also exists as a form of sex-based discrimination that affects most women within the workplace, especially under persons occupying positions of power or authority over the employee (Bell, McLaughlin, & Sequeira, 2002; Kane-Urrabazo, 2007). Lastly, the glass ceiling is another form of discrimination that affects nurses as well as other women working in the clinical setting (Bell, McLaughlin, & Sequeira, 2002).
Implications of Harassment and Workplace in Nursing
Harassment and discrimination are specifically harmful if they are not controlled within the organization. In most cases, the incidents are overlooked particularly due to cultural reasons, which tend to be supportive of male-based norms. However, failure to address such issues may end up affecting the whole organization, especially in terms of reputation. One of the effects of harassment and discrimination particularly in nursing involves huge turnovers. Clinics and other medical facilities may experience high turnovers (Namie & Namie, 2011). These occur when a large number of employees leave an organization within a certain period. Furthermore, high turnovers by nurses may indicate the organization’s inability to retain its nurses. Other forms of harassment such as bullying can disrupt the self-esteem and work ethic of the nurses within the clinical setting. This may have a disastrous effect since it will influence nurses to engage in low-quality processes that do not satisfy the needs and demands of the client or the patient (Namie & Namie, 2011).
In conclusion, harassment and discrimination are evident in most workplaces. Three forms of harassment and discrimination have been identified in relation to the general workplace environment. These include overt discrimination, sexual harassment, and the glass ceiling. These forms of harassment and discrimination affect women highly due to factors such as sexual orientation (gender) and race. In the nursing profession, these processes tend to take place because of involvement from both the management and the clients. However, failure to control the occurrence of harassment and discrimination poses disastrous results for the healthcare institution. Such outcomes may involve high turnovers among the nursing employees, stress and decreased motivation in work among nurses due to low self-esteem, and a negative reputation specifically on the healthcare institution. Hence, for future reference, procedures that focus on preventing harassment and discrimination need to be studied for purposes of implementation.
Bell, M. P., McLaughlin, M. E., & Sequeira, J. M. (2002). Discrimination, harassment, and the glass ceiling: Women executives as change agents. Journal of Business Ethics, 37(1), 65-76.
Kane-Urrabazo, C. (2007). Sexual harassment in the workplace: it is your problem. Journal of Nursing Management, 15 (6), 608-613.
Namie, G., & Namie, R. (2011). The bully at work: What you can do to stop the hurt and reclaim your dignity on the job. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks.