Nursing

Blog spotlight: Dealing with verbal abuse

Nurse Leader Insider, January 19, 2009

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It's inevitable that some of your decisions will be unpopular. However, you are not a manager to win a popularity contest. If you made the decision with thought and consideration and not as a reaction to an event, it should be understood and accepted in time. If you make staff understand the rationale behind an unpopular decision (or any decision, for that matter), they will be more likely to keep rowing in the same direction as you are.

Often, nurse managers are on the receiving end of verbal abuse, which is an example of horizontal violence. But you can deal with it by using some calm and well-rehearsed responses and techniques:

  • Smiling and stating, "Perhaps we should continue this conversation when we've both had time to calm down"
  • Taking a deep breath and reviewing mentally all the positive things you can think about the situation/person
  • Softly stating, "Thanks for sharing that with me"
  • Stating, "It is really not necessary to speak to me with that tone of voice"


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