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Psychiatric Nursing students find a cure for toxic work environments


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Douglas College Nursing students are working to turn the tide on toxic work environments for new nurses. Read below to hear from fourth-year Bachelor of Science in Psychiatric Nursing student Sadie Gallant on how an online movement aims to promote a positive and inclusive workplace.

“While researching for a project, we came across the Nurses Support Their Young movement, which challenges the popular notion that nurses “eat their young” or being rough to new nurses to toughen them up or thicken their skin as an initiation to the field.

The movement, which is sweeping social media on an international level with the hashtag #NursesSupportTheirYoung, also features an online pledge that nurses can take, vowing to promote a healthy and empowering work environment.

The goal for the project is to challenge workplace bullying and address the issue of lateral abuse between nursing professionals. The issues of bullying and psychological abuse between nurses is seldom brought to light, however both are quite prevalent in the caring field.

The concept of being tough on new nurses as an initiation to nursing is still being practiced today because we have normalized it – that’s how nurses before us were trained and it continues to get passed down with little reflection on how it is impacting practice.

Evidence-informed practice tells us the opposite. A toxic work environment leads to lower nurse satisfaction and poor patient outcomes. As we are soon to be graduating, the this cohort will enter the field with strong values for civility in the workplace, fostering empowerment, supportiveness and encouragement.”

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