How to handle sexual harassment as a nurse

If you have been sexually harassed in the workplace as a nurse by a patient or by another healthcare professional it can be very difficult to continue feeling safe at work. In a recent study conducted by the University of Missouri 21 of 29 nurses reported at least some type of sexual-harassment. Although this study is somewhat outdated from 2001 it’s estimated that even male nurses have experienced sexual harassment regularly as well.

If you are harassed in the workplace there are a number of steps that you need to take in order to prevent the action from happening to other nurses as well as in order to protect yourself from the patient or the people that are harassing you:

Speak to the harasser: The first episode speak to the harasser directly and make sure that the attention that has been given to you is clear and unwanted. Sometimes this can be very intimidating especially if the person that has harassed you is a superior. Be sure to speak to the harasser and ensure that the person knows that all the attention directed at you is completely unwarranted.

Report to supervision: Report any incidents of harassment directly to supervision or some type of higher authority. Speaking to HR professionals or a boss about the incident of harassment will help to make sure that the incident is logged in that if the incident ever had to go to court, the medical facility that you work for is covered.

Documentation and writing: Even if it isn’t required by your HR professionals make sure that you document out the harassment accordingly in a journal so that you can clearly remember the event. In most cases HR professionals will ask that you document harassment in writing.

Find support: Speaking to friends or family members can be an excellent way to recover after sexual harassment. Be sure to tell someone else about the incident.