Professional Boundaries: Uncensored Talk and Workplace Bullying In-service Training


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In-service training addressing the issues of uncensored talk and workplace bullying, for use in the health care setting.

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Professional Boundaries: Uncensored Talk and Workplace Bullying In-service Training

  1. 1. PROFESSIONAL BOUNDARIES How to deal with Uncensored Talk and Work Place Bullying in the Health Care setting. Florentina Henry 4/6/2014 Updated 5/3/2014
  2. 2. Professionalism • Set of rules that dictate what is appropriate behavior at work, which include rules that are: • Job Specific- policies and procedures at a particular work place, like following the right chain of command • Environmental- rules that contribute to healthy, positive, productive work environments, that often focus on attitudes and communication styles • Personal-rules that dictate personal behaviors such as dress, attendance/tardiness, etc.
  3. 3. Boundaries • Some boundaries in the workplace are obvious; sexual harassment, violence, insubordination, physical/sexual/medical abuse or neglect of residents, theft, etc. • Some boundaries are clearly stated in written policy so there’s no misunderstanding if you’ve violated them; attendance points, dress code, drug testing, break/lunch times, etc. • Some boundaries are harder to know when you’ve crossed them, because they can seem subjective. These are HIDDEN BOUNDARIES.
  4. 4. The Hidden Boundary • The biggest boundary that is regularly crossed in the workplace is… UNCENSORED TALK
  5. 5. What is Uncensored Talk? • Talking informally in a formal setting, or talking informally to someone with whom you have a formal relationship. Some Examples at Work: • Bringing up “hot button” issues • Discussing sex, sexuality, sexual humor • Discussing race, politics, religion • Gossip, rumors, rude or bullying behaviors to co-workers/residents • Oversharing (about problems, health, relationships, etc.) • Inappropriate Sharing (sharing is a one-way street between residents and caregivers) • Discussing alcohol/drug use, “partying” • Saying negative things about the job, bosses, or other co-workers
  6. 6. Why does this happen? With Coworkers: When you work long hours, doing hard work, as part of a team, you often form work friendships (or in the negative case, work enemies). Caregivers often work with residents who are impaired or unresponsive, and may wrongfully assume residents cannot hear or understand what the caregivers are saying. With Residents: 1)caregivers often feel like they have a bond with or are closer to certain residents, which may lead the caregiver to feeling comfortable sharing more things than they should. 2) The opposite side is when dealing with residents who may present difficulties and challenges, the caregiver takes it personally and comes to resent or argue with the resident.
  7. 7. How to Avoid Uncensored Talk • Focus on talking about work first in order to stay productive • Remember you are still at work in all areas of your workplace- break rooms, smoking areas, bathrooms, resident’s rooms, etc. • Save deeper personal conversations with work friends for outside of work • Keep all negative conversations/behaviors out of the workplace, and bring up concerns or issues appropriately with management or staff directly involved. • Remember caregiver-resident relationship is one-way: you are the professional who is being paid to provide care and there is not an equal power balance between you and the resident.
  8. 8. How can you check if what you are saying is Uncensored Talk? • Think of someone you would want to have good manners around . If you wouldn’t say it in front of them, you shouldn’t say it at work. • (grandmother/grandfather, pastor or priest, child’s teacher/principle, etc.) • Would it make you uncomfortable/upset if someone said it, or the reverse, to you? • (if you want to say something about someone’s religion or race, how would you feel if they said the same thing about your religion or race?) • Be mindful when residents are around. • Having personal conversations in front of them makes them feel like you are treating them as if they aren’t even there. This is not only unprofessional, but hurtful. • Be mindful when resident’s families are around. • If resident’s families hear you acting unprofessional around them, they will assume you act even worse when they aren’t there (when we see someone acting out in public, don’t we all think “Wow, if that’s how they act in public, I don’t even want to think about how they act in private!”).
  9. 9. Work Place Bullying • What is work place bullying? (gossip, rumors, sabotage, threats, harassment, yelling, name calling, shunning or ignoring specific co-workers, refusing to communicate with co-workers as needed, withholding important job-related information from co-workers, and other negative or immature behaviors that contribute to creating a “hostile work environment”) • Also known as lateral or horizontal violence • These behaviors are serious and can become grounds for termination under work place violence laws
  10. 10. Consequences of Work Place Bullying • Loss of productivity • Communication breakdowns put residents at risk for medical mistakes • Communication breakdowns put residents, co-workers, and all entering the building at risk for safety hazards • Reduces quality of care for residents due to negative environment, distracted workers, and high rates of staff turn over reducing continuity of care • Reduces job satisfaction for everyone • Can cause job loss and legal consequences
  11. 11. How to Handle Work Place Bullying • Practice Prevention- take steps to create a positive environment and use team building techniques • If you are guilty of any of these behaviors, stop them immediately • If any of these behaviors are being directed at you, report it to your supervisor • Focus on your work, do not be drawn into or create “drama” • Focus on job roles, not feelings, in order to work as a team to get the job done (i.e. this is my residents nurse, cook, housekeeper, aide, etc. that I must work with in order to care for my resident-not that is Shelly and John who I like so I’ll be nice to them, and Bob and Sara who I can’t stand so I’m not going to talk to them and they’ll just have to figure things out for themselves)
  12. 12. In-Service Documentation Name _____________________________ Job Title_______________________ Please check the box by one of the following options: I attended this presentation as an in-service training Date_____________ Presenter________________________________ I read through this entire presentation on: Date____________________ By signing below I certify that I fully understand the material in this presentation: Signature_______________________________ Date______________________
  13. 13. Sources & Contact Info • All content is original material developed by Florentina Henry. • Originally produced for use at: Hillside Assisted Living, 130 Rogers St. Xenia, OH 45385 • For more information, contact Florentina Henry at