Professional Boundaries: Uncensored Talk and Workplace Bullying In-service Training
How to deal with Uncensored Talk and Work
Place Bullying in the Health Care setting.
• 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.
• Some boundaries in the workplace are obvious; sexual
harassment, violence, insubordination,
physical/sexual/medical abuse or neglect of residents,
• 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
• Some boundaries are harder to know when you’ve
crossed them, because they can seem subjective. These
are HIDDEN BOUNDARIES.
The Hidden Boundary
• The biggest boundary that is regularly crossed in the
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
Why does this happen?
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.
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.
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.
How can you check if what you are saying is
• 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!”).
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
Work Place Bullying
• Loss of productivity
• Communication breakdowns put residents at risk for medical
• 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
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
• 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
(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)
Name _____________________________ Job Title_______________________
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Sources & Contact Info
• All content is original material developed by
• Originally produced for use at:
Hillside Assisted Living,
130 Rogers St.
Xenia, OH 45385
• For more information, contact Florentina Henry at