Letter to the Editor by Kristian “Kiki” Divin, BSN, RN to “Psychological Distress and Workplace Bullying Among Registered Nurses”

Promoting Healthy Work Environments: A Shared Responsibility

April 25, 2017

Response by Kristian “Kiki” Divin, BSN, RN to “Psychological Distress and Workplace Bullying Among Registered Nurses” by Peggy A. Berry and colleagues (August 10, 2016).

With Reply from Authors

Dear Editor:

The article, “Psychological Distress and Workplace Bullying among Registered Nurses” (Berry, Gillespie, Fisher, Gormley, & Haynes, 2016), is a topic near and dear to me, both as a person and as a registered nurse. There should be more attention and research in this area of nursing, with a focus on ending workplace bullying. This epidemic is not only a problem nationwide, but also worldwide. It is imperative to focus on the presence of leadership at the forefront of demanding a safe and harassment free work environment for all healthcare employees. In the article, the authors touched on the importance of nurse leaders teaching and coaching novice nurses on how to professionally address workplace bullying behaviors. To reiterate this importance, there needs to be more research and development of leaders with the knowledge and skills to empower nurses to counter bullying behavior in the workplace.

According to Lamberth (2015), “…72% of employers deny, discount, encourage, rationalize, or defend it [bullying] within their organization” (p. 20). This statistic is astonishing. I have both witnessed and experienced bullying in the work environment as a nurse. One instance that stands out the most involved a fellow coworker who is a white, gay male. He experienced bullying on a daily basis, which was attributed to him being male, and also some nurses with prejudice against his sexual orientation. He ultimately left his position within six months of being hired. Although it is important to recognize the bullying novice nurses experience, I think it is also important to research and delve into other characteristics that make nurses more susceptible to bullying by others. By doing this, we can better understand precursors that possibly lead to bullying situations and help create educational programs and initiatives for healthcare professionals and organizations to prevent these unacceptable behaviors.


Kristian “Kiki” Divin, BSN, RN
University of Texas Arlington - College of Nursing Graduate Program


Berry, P. A., Gillespie, G. L., Fisher, B. S., Gormley, D., & Haynes, J. T. (2016). Psychological distress and workplace bullying among registered nurses. OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing21(3), 4. doi:10.3912/OJIN.Vol21No03PPT41. Retrieved from http://www.nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/ANAMarketplace/ANAPeriodicals/OJIN/TableofContents/Vol-21-2016/No3-Sept-2016/Articles-Previous-Topics/Psychological-Distress-and-Workplace-Bullying.html

Lamberth, B. B. (2015). Workplace bullying in healthcare: Part 3. Radiology Management37(3), 18-25.