Active Shooting and Bullying In the Nursing Workforce

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Active Shooting and Bullying In the Nursing Workforce

  A hospital is place where people go to seek for treatments with hopes of gaining their initial health condition and continue with their daily live as usual. However, there are challenges that are faced in the hospital that demean the role of hospitals. As a consequence, this essay focuses on the challenges; active shooting and bullying in the nursing working which derails operations in the hospitals. In the area of active shooting, the essay focuses on the analysis of four articles talking about the issue. 

Active Shooting

Security InfoWatch. (2013) in their article “Responding to active shooters in hospitals” affirms that hospitals are one of the places that people would lastly wish to be. Besides, the article insists that active shooting is a rare thing and therefore is not predictable. However, the security managers should clearly understand the 4 A “s” acronym standing for accept, assess, act and alert. This therefore means that the security personnel in healthcare organizations should be aware that active shooting scenarios do occur and identify where the hospital relates with the threat. When this assessment is fully done, ten alert and actions can be taken with immediate effects.  

Balingit (2012) in the article “Hospital shootings shock Oakland 2 dead, 7 injured at Western Psych; Police kill gunman in exchange of fire” gives an account of the active shooting incidence that took place in Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of UPMC in Oakland. The incidence left two people dead and seven casualties as the active shooter also succumbed to bullet injuries in fire exchange with police officers. 

On the other hand, Hospital Employee Health (2013) affirms that active shooting in hospitals are hard to prevent because they involved determined shooters who have specific target. The determined shooters are found to have four major aims which include suicide, revenge, escaping police custody, and ending the life of a relative. Active shooting is an incidence with low risk but poses great fears making employees to demand for a surety in their security.  

According to the report by The Joint Commission (2014), “Preparing for active shooter situations”, it is unfortunate that crimes (assault, suicide, homicide, and rape) take place in health facilities. Since January 2010 to the time the report was published in July 2014, 27 deaths were reported from 16 shooting incidences out of which nine involved murder and mercy killings where the shooters and the patients succumbed to the injuries. Also, other incidences involved active shooters who aimed to a certain group of individuals in a populated area. Because active shooters are unpredictable, The Joint Commission (2014) report proposes safety actions healthcare organizations should consider to be prepared on active shooting. 

Being an issue that can occur in any healthcare organization, my working place has taken precautionary measures to ensure that the safety of its patients and employees are taken care of. The health care organizations involves law enforcement in its plans, develops a communication plan, train and drill employees, conducts debriefings, and establish procedures and processes that ensure the safety of patients and employees. 

As a nurse, my responsibility is to observe and record the behavior of the patients under my care and coordinating with the physicians in the evaluation and creation of customized care plans. Besides, I create harmonious environment by providing emotional support to patients and their family members. Moreover, I do maintained and update the patients’ records in their conditions while carrying requisite treatment and medication. I also ensure that the hygiene and nursing practices are upheld in the workplace to avoid further contractions of disease by patients. Likewise, I provide necessary guidance on disease prevention and health maintenance.

I am against the matter of active shooter drills taking place with live gunfire because during the drill people are tensed and in the process of confusion, stray bullets can hit people accidentally. Once the damage is caused, it is irreversible and can even lead to death. As a result, real bullets should not be used in drill and instead fake bullets and blood should be adopted. 

Bullying in the Nursing Workforce

Nursing profession is increasingly affected by workplace bulling. Workplace bullying is any form of repetitive abuse or harassment subjected to victims of bullying behaviors. workplace bullying include intimidating or humiliating behaviors, threats, verbal abuse, and threats by perpetrators that are meant to interfere with health and safety of the victims. In most cases, workplace bullying emanate from abuse or misuse of authority and power within organizations. The bullied nurses normally are defenseless and significantly demoralized in their line of duty and have their dignity comprised. To make the matter worse, managers end up protecting the perpetrators and not the bully making the victims more vulnerable. Unless organizations develop and implement zero tolerance legislation and policies that make workplace bullying illegal, the behavior is likely to continue (Blais & Hayes, 2016).  

Workplace bullying is a serious issue that continues to escalate in healthcare organizations. Despite less evidence is presented on the impact of bullying in healthcare; literature has it that workplace bullying decreases job satisfaction and demoralizes the victims. The increasing rates of work dissatisfaction, loss of productivity, work absenteeism, and work related injuries in healthcare are attributed to workplace bullying. Besides, workplace bullying can cost to up to $4 billion yearly (Murray, 2009). To tame this behavior, the leaders in healthcare should address this issue in accordance with the Forces of Magnetism developed by American Nurses Credentialing Center. Leaders in healthcare should be well informed risk takers whose focus is on staff support and address work related abuse. It is also important to note that nurses influence healthcare organizations at a great scale in terms of policies and processes especially when they are linked to bullying in the workplace.  

New nurses are the most vulnerable group as far as workplace bullying is concerned. However, these nurses can protect themselves when confronted by bullying in the working place. Although the strategies the new nurses can adopt seem to be straight forward, without support, they can prove difficult to accomplish. First of all, the victim should be aware when bullying exists despite the fact that they are told that they are not being bullied. Secondly, because bullying is a tremendously overwhelming experience, it is important that a nurse seeks for behavioral health services (Blais & Hayes, 2016). Third, a nurse should be aware of the consequences such as lack of sleep, anxiety, and eating disorders that are brought about by workplace bullying. Fourth, a nurse should know his or her rights in a workplace. Fifth, nurses should be well aware of the procedures and policies regarding workplace bullying. Sixth, a nurse should document all incidences of bullying against him or her including date, time, and the perpetrator. Besides, nurses should be prepared and know that their leaders might not protect them against bullying for their personal interest. Finally, nurses should know that they may need legal assistance when all avenues that may solve the problem may fail (Murray, 2009).. 

In a workplace, people need each other’s support to ensure that an organization runs smoothly. As a consequence, nurses can take some steps to ensure that their colleagues are working in ambient conditions in an organization (Blais & Hayes, 2016). When a nurse is bullied, he or she should call for help from coworkers. For instance in, in the operating room, “code pink” is used to reveal this act and expose the perpetrator. Moreover, nurses should provide support to coworkers immediately the attack occurs and come up with a solution on what the victim should undergo (Murray, 2009).. Moreover, managers should be alerted immediately the incidence occurs so that they can take necessary actions. Most importantly, to protect the victim and condemn the perpetrator, staff members should not side with the bully because doing so will encourage the uncouth behavior and affect the productivity and wellness of the victim. Moreover, the staff should be the witness in case the bully is asked to meets with the victim. When the matter takes the way of legal proceedings, the staff should agree to support the victim in writings and testimonials (Murray, 2009). 

Healthcare organizations are one of the most important institutions that ensure the wellbeing of the society. Therefore, the working environment should be kept within the standards to uphold the role of the healthcare organizations. As a consequence, the leaders and coworkers in the nursing profession should ensure that no nurse is bullied and incase a nurse is bullied then they should rally behind the victim to condemn the act. With this, the working standards and productivity of nursing will be enhanced. 


Balingit, M. (2012, March 9). Hospital shootings shock Oakland 2 dead, 7 injured at Western Psych; Police kill gunman in exchange of fire. Pittsburgh Post – Gazette. Retrieved from

Blais, K. K. & Hayes, J. S. (2016). Professional nursing practice: Concepts and perspectives (7th). Boston, MO: Pearson.

Hospital Employee Health. (2013). Most hospital shootings are not preventable. Retrieved from
(from the World wide web)

Murray, J. S. (January 01, 2009). Workplace bullying in nursing: a problem that can’t be ignored. Medsurg Nursing : Official Journal of the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses, 18, 5.)

Security InfoWatch. (2013). Responding to active shooters in hospitals. SecurityInfoWatch.Com. Retrieved from

The Joint Commission. (2014, July). Preparing for active shooter situations. Quick Safety. Retrieved from

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