American Nurses Association (ANA) & Workplace Bullying

by Sep 4, 2015

On July 22, 2015, the American Nurses Association (ANA) came out with a position paper with regard to individual and shared roles and responsibilities of registered nurses (RNs) and employers to create and sustain a culture of respect, which is free of incivility, bullying, and workplace violence. Interestingly, this is six years after the Joint Commission came out with it’s Leadership standard (LD.03.01.01) that requires: 1) hospitals and health care organizations have a code of conduct that defines acceptable and disruptive and inappropriate behaviors, and, 2) leaders to create and implement a process for managing disruptive and inappropriate behaviors.

The ANA’s position paper calls for all RNs and employers in all settings, including practice, academia, and research, to collaborate to create a culture of respect that is free of incivility, bullying, and workplace violence. The following recommendations for Registered Nurses are made:

  1. Make a commitment to – and accept responsibility for – establishing and promoting healthy relationships
  2. Be cognizant of their own interactions and insist on and perpetuate effective communication
  3. Engage in training and education on diversity, leadership, conflict management and more
  4. Co-create a civil workplace environment
  5. Be familiar with their employer’s bullying prevention policies
  6. Establish a code-word to use when in need of support during interactions that leave them feeling threatened
  7. Learn to deflect incivility and bullying
  8. Advocate for bullying prevention education to be taught in nursing schools
  9. Exemplify civility at all times

The following recommendations for employers are made:

  1. Ensure the vision, mission and values are aligned with civility
  2. Orient new employees to organizational policies, values, and civility codes
  3. Establish a zero-tolerance policy regarding incivility and bullying
  4. Provide a mechanism to seek support when feeling threatened
  5. Make education available

The paper is full of many more ideas for creating a culture of civility, or a culture that stamps out bullying.


Civility is the platform for organizational success—it is absolutely necessary for an organization to reach its goals. Download our Ebook on Seeking Civility to learn more on how to create a workplace free of bullying and abusive conduct.


About Catherine Mattice

Catherine Mattice, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is President of consulting and training firm, Civility Partners, and has been successfully providing programs in workplace bullying and building positive workplaces since 2007. Her clients include Fortune 500’s, the military, several universities and hospitals, government agencies, small businesses and nonprofits. She has published in a variety of trade magazines and has appeared several times on NPR, FOX, NBC, and ABC as an expert, as well as in USA Today, Inc Magazine, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, and more. Catherine is Past-President of the Association for Talent Development (ATD), San Diego Chapter and teaches at National University. In his book foreword, Ken Blanchard called her book, BACK OFF! Your Kick-Ass Guide to Ending Bullying at Work, “the most comprehensive and valuable handbook on the topic.” She recently released a second book entitled, SEEKING CIVILITY: How Leaders, Managers and HR Can Create a Workplace Free of Bullying.

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