This article will focus on staff bullying within care homes . It is largely an opinion piece. Relevant literature is offered at the end and experiences of some staff have been incorporated..
What gives individuals the right to make others feel worthless?
That feeling of worthlessness may overule a person’s life so much so that they are afraid to do anything or to interact with others. The one bullied may believe that he or she deserves to be bullied. Whilst this applies to so many establishments or relationships, such as schools, marriage, or hospital wards, bullying may be rife in care homes. Yet care homes one would expect (as other areas), are staffed by individuals who have a “caring nature “.
The theories of John Knox contribute to this belief of “worth”- one has to be worthy which determines rewards or punishments. Who gives anybody the right to judge ?
Individuals who are at greater risk of being bullied include staff from overseas, young or inexperienced staff, volunteers. In fact anybody who appears “different” and does not fit into the group criteria. Try raising issues within a care home, or questioning the routine.
There have for example, been examples of staff who were told “to return to their own country”, name- calling, physical abuse, cold shoulders in the staff room, exclusion from discussions, or more subtle approaches such as being left the worse jobs or shifts to do.. Such actions may be taken by individuals or the whole team. Studies indicate that gender may contribute (see below)- most staff within care homes are indeed women. Women are desribed as being rather more “bitchy” than men. Gender may also determine the reaction of the one being bullied to the bullies.
Many people who are bullied, are too distressed to take the case further by considering such as tribunals. Indeed few staff within care homes are members of a union- especially unqualified staff. Approaching the manager may actually worsen the situation- especially if staff are informed. Eventually the one being bullied may leave their post. Yet it may not end there with years of suffering or mental illness to follow. Some may suffer from nightmares and bouts of crying for example. Indeed many may fear working again.
There may be many “reasons” for bullying including survival of the fittest group (Darwin)- the one being bullied is excluded from group membership . Groups survive by mutual cooperation of they who agree with it’s core principles.Bullies may like the power that bullying offers them. This may be determined by their personality type or indeed, reflective of some form of mental ilness such as dellusions of grandeur.
Many cases of bullying would be identified by the use of cameras (CCTV) within areas of care.
Darwin C On the Origin of Species 1st published 1859
John Knox –
Maslach C, Santee RT, Wade C (1987) Individuals, Gender Roles and Dissent Psychology 53 (6) p 1088-1093
Steffensmeier D , Allan E (1996) Gender and Crime : Toward a Gendered Theory of Female Offending Ann. Rev. Social (2 p459-67
Bullying UK http://www.bullying.co.uk/
Free representation in the workplace UK http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=1461
More Associations/ links to come.
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