Nurse’s Notes: Bullying in Travel Nursing

Posted: March 16, 2017 in Nurse
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nurse bullyingJust like many nurses in the world, travel nurses come across bullying. It is, however, an intensified one.

Incidence and Prevalence

In the U.S., one in six nurses is bullied in her lifetime. But the exact figures of travel nurse bullying cannot be determined exactly as most shrug the incidents off. There are no documentation or reports given to the administrator, or HR Department.

Newbies in the nursing world say they have experienced bullying from their senior nurses. According to a study, almost 90% of new nurses are at higher risks of bullying.

In the nursing world, both male and female are being bullied and bullies. It is observed that bullying are same- sex targeted – female nurses target female colleagues.

Signs of Travel Nurse Bullying

Bullying attacks both physically and mentally. She can shout and intimidate you in front of many people, eye rolls, makes inappropriate comments about her work, and humiliate.  A nurse bully can give you emotional or verbal abuse in one shift. She can also spread rumour about you, or make constant criticism.

A nurse manager gives you assignments where she knows you cannot do well. This is called an ‘unfair assignment’, and is considered a hot topic for travel nurses.

When your administrator holds your vacation leave due to unknown reason, it can be a sign of bullying in vertical form. Another sign of bullying is when a travel nurse is excluded in social events or is prohibited to attend any social occasions.

Causes of Travel Nurse Bullying

Power and control are seen as main culprits why travel nurse bullying arise. These usually can be observed in a senior nurse, nurse manager, or head nurse. When they have the power and control to the nurse they are bullying, they picture that they can have control to the other staff.

Jealousy and threat are also among the notorious reasons why bullying in nursing occurs. Nurses are all female workforce, and female tend to be jealous of their own specie.  A kind and productive nurse, who works beyond the expectation of many, is deemed as a threat to the system. She is now the main target of the horizontal line.

It is also seen that those who were bullied once will become a bully in some sort or another.


I got a twang of ‘colleague incivility’ when I was the new gal in the premises. I am was ready to hit the tab with a humble confidence, yet my seniors gave all work to me while they’re chatting at the nurse’s station about the many choo- choo of the entertainment world. Sometimes they would go outside the department, and I would be left with my fellow newbie to attend to the patients. This went on for 6 months. All I can do was to follow their orders. 

Gossiping is a case nurses can’t push away as the profession is mostly consist of female. I had a colleague who threw nice words to our seniors that me and my friend was now excellent in communication department. She shared that we can talk with patients well, even if we’re new, and that we didn’t need assistance from them. As far as God knows, we never said those words to her or anyone. We were not expert in language that we grasp it a week after we arrive at the work place. Whatever her intentions of doing this, we did not know until now as we didn’t confront her about it. We just proved to her that, yeah, we can communicate with patients well, and as expected by our seniors.

I did not report how I was bullied by my colleagues or superiors since I knew our administrator won’t believe what I’d say.


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