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Reply by Author Berry to Divin on “Psychological Distress and Workplace Bullying Among Registered Nurses”

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April 26, 2017

Response by Peggy A. Berry to Kristian “Kiki” Divin, BSN, RN to “Psychological Distress and Workplace Bullying Among Registered Nurses” by Peggy A. Berry and colleagues (August 10, 2016).

Dear Kiki Divin,

Thank you for your letter regarding the article “Psychological Distress and Workplace Bullying Among Registered Nurses.” Embedded social norms, perceived or actual power, and stressed communications can create imbalance and toxicity in the workplace. The key is to recognize workplace bullying occurs within a culture of disrespect and incivility (Berry, Gillespie, Fisher, & Gormley, 2016). And, your description of bullying at the peer level can only be stopped when leadership steps in.

Leadership is essential to create a just, reporting, and learning culture (The Joint Commission, 2017). Leadership creates the culture where psychological and physical safety is essential, not only for patient safety but for employees. It starts with transparent communication on safety issues. Workplace bullying is a safety issue for nurses and patients. Continuing to delve into victim characteristics can lead to victim blaming instead of cessation of negative behaviors. I believe it is more important to identify interventions that strengthen everyone’s resilience in different healthcare settings, and that takes establishing and measuring the metrics of a healthy workplace (Berry et al., 2016). Although nursing leadership is important, we must all collaborate to maintain surveillance on our own behavior, stress levels, and clarify our communications. By the way, I received my BSN from UT Arlington. You are in a great program.


Peggy Ann Berry, PhD, RN, COHN-S, SCP-SHRM, PLNC
Thrive_At_Life: Working Solutions
Dayton, Ohio


Berry, P.A., Gillespie, G.L., Fisher, B.S., & Gormley, D.K. (2016). Recognizing, confronting, and eliminating workplace bullying. Workplace Health & Safety, 64(7), 337-341. doi:2165079916634711

The Joint Commission (2017). Sentinel Alert 57. The essential role of leadership in developing a safety culture. Retrieved from