Ask a Nursing Advisor

CRNS Nursing Advisors are dedicated to answering questions from RNs and NPs about their nursing practice. Below, we've addressed common questions we are asked to help you in your registered nursing practice.

What are my responsibilities when I witness workplace violence directed at others in a work setting? (colleague, student, other health professional)

If you witness harassment or workplace violence of any kind, you are expected to take action to stop the violence. In demonstrating professional behaviour, RNs are expected to intervene, and report when others fail to respect the dignity of a person they are caring for or a colleague (including students). It is important to recognize that to be silent and passive is to condone the behaviour. RNs must speak up, facilitate conversation, and adjudicate disputes as appropriate or as required. RNs work toward preventing and minimizing all forms of violence by anticipating and assessing the risk of violent situations and by collaborating with others to establish preventive measures.

All RNs regardless of the type of practice or practice setting, need to comply with the  CNA Code of Ethics, 2017RN Practice StandardsRN Entry-Level Competencies, The Registered Nurses Act, 1988, CRNS Bylaws 2024, employer policies and other legislation, as relevant. This applies to witnessing bullying or harassment in the workplace.

If you have observed harassment in your workplace, here are ways you can take action:

  • Check in with the person who has experienced the violence. Acknowledge what has happened and empathetically assist them to access supports as needed.
  • Keep a written account of events including the following information:
    • The date, time and what happened in as much detail as possible.
    • The names of witnesses.
    • The outcome of the event.
  • Report the incident to your employer to try to resolve the issue internally. Refer to the organization's harassment policy for information on reporting options and investigation process (Retrieved from saskatchewan.ca, March 4, 2024).

These are a few examples of how you can address workplace violence when you see it happen. Acting and addressing the behaviour is critical to stopping it from occurring again and fostering a healthy workplace environment and team. Supporting the idea of reporting these situations, the Saskatchewan Association for Safe Workers in Health has launched the Campaign for Change of #IWillReport. For more information, you can watch the video here https://youtu.be/Ji_bEXUZ3SA.

The CRNS Nursing Advisors are available to assist you as you work through situations like this and others. They can be reached by email at practiceadvice@crns.ca or by calling the toll-free number at 1-800-667-9945.


Resources

Government of Saskatchewan: Bullying and Harassment in the Workplace

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