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How Nurses Can Fight Sexual Harassment

How Nurses Can Fight Sexual Harassment

John Rossheim, Monster Senior Contributing Writer

Nurses Underreport Incidents

Nurses, who often become thick-skinned from dealing with difficult patients, don’t always acknowledge the seriousness of sexual harassment.

“Underreporting of the problem is sadly common,” says an American Nurses Association (ANA) brief. Nurses sometimes belittle patients who harass them or make light of incidents that may take an emotional toll.

Hospital procedure often enables direct-care workers to remove themselves from cases where patients have crossed the line, but nurses rarely do so. “There was only one nurse in the entire study who withdrew from care,” Dougherty says.

Sexual Harassment Training Yields Limited Results

Training can help healthcare workers deal with sexual harassment and perhaps even stop it. “Hospitals usually have comprehensive programs to combat sexual harassment, including meaningful training,” says lawyer John Doran, a partner with Greenberg Traurig LLP.

But there’s an apparent disconnect between the training hospitals say they provide and what employees recall receiving. “Just a few of the nurses in the study remember having any training at all” on dealing with sexual harassment, Dougherty says.


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