1. Cangelosi, Pamela R.

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A great deal of attention has been devoted to the topic of bullying in nursing. Known also as horizontal violence, violence in the workplace, and harassment, bullying can be destructive, both physically and emotionally. In nursing education, bullying of students by faculty actively exists. Eating our young is an older term, but it has the same ramifications as bullying. In a caring profession, and as Christian nurses and educators, there is no place for bullying.

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Nursing is viewed by the public as an ethical and trustworthy profession (Gallup Poll, 2016). If we are to uphold this view, and the American Nurses Association Code of Ethics (ANA, 2015), we must saturate nursing education with this ethical and caring philosophy. As Christian educators, we must also infuse Christian principles into nursing education. Verbal abuse, dispensing tasks as a reprimand rather than for learning, and assigning poor grades as punishment are cited as examples of bullying within nursing academe (Anthony & Yastik, 2011; Cooper & Curzio, 2012; Mott, 2014).


Jesus stated believers should be salt and light in the world (Matthew 5:13-16, NIV), therefore, our character, actions, and teaching need to reflect the impact of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives and in our profession. Nowhere does bullying, or any of the behaviors noted above, fit into this model. If we are to "love your neighbor as yourself" (Mark 12:31, NIV), and "show proper respect to everyone" (1 Peter 2:17, NIV), we cannot bully our students. Bullying belittles students, encourages continuation of the negative behavior, and in the extreme, can encourage students and nurses to leave the profession.


James 3:1 (NIV) cautions that as teachers have such great influence on those they educate, teachers are held more accountable. Considering this responsibility, James adds, "Not many of you should presume to be teachers." As nurse educators, we need to fully understand the responsibilities we have when we teach. We are instructing the next generation of nurses, who will care for us, our families, and society. If we want future nurses to be ethical, caring, and accountable, we must model this behavior. The importance of constructive faculty/student relationships cannot be overstated. When students are accepted and treated with respect, and when the lines of communication are kept open, students can integrate these and other positive aspects of the faculty/student relationship into their future roles as practicing nurses (Brent, 2016). Clark and Springer (2010) suggested numerous interventions to curtail bullying or incivility in the educational setting. Faculty and administrator education about bullying, development of policies and nonpunitive reporting systems that hold individuals accountable, open forums for discussion and problem solving, coaching for students and faculty on how to handle bullying behavior, and resources to aid in stress management and counseling are some recommendations to reduce bullying within the academic community.


From a Christian perspective, role modeling of Christian beliefs must be emphasized. When nurse educators allow Christ's light to shine through their actions, a positive impact is made on the development and behavior of future nurses. As always, but especially as Christians and nurse educators, we must be mindful of our words and actions. Students observe and learn from this. As educators, our hearts, and in turn our messages, must reflect Christian beliefs and caring and ethical professional values. As Christians, teachers, and nurses, our impact reaches far beyond what we can imagine.


American Nurses Association. (2015). Code of ethics for nurses with interpretive statements. Silver Spring, MD: Author. [Context Link]


Anthony M., Yastik J. (2011). Nursing students' experiences with incivility in clinical education. The Journal of Nursing Education, 50(3), 140-144. doi:10.3928/01484834-20110131-04 [Context Link]


Brent N. J. (2016). Leaders may develop from nurturing school relationships. Retrieved from[Context Link]


Clark C. M., Springer P. J. (2010). Academic nurse leaders' role in fostering a culture of civility in nursing education. The Journal of Nursing Education, 49(6), 319-325. doi:10.3928/01484834-20100224-01 [Context Link]


Cooper B., Curzio J. (2012). Peer bullying in a pre-registration student nursing population. Nurse Education Today, 32(8), 939-944. doi:10.1016/j.nedt.2011.10.012 [Context Link]


Gallup Poll. (2016). Americans rate healthcare providers high on honesty, ethics. Retrieved from[Context Link]


Mott J. (2014). Undergraduate nursing student experiences with faculty bullies. Nurse Educator, 39(3), 143-148. doi:10.1097/NNE.0000000000000038 [Context Link]