Over 38% of nurses in the US and Canada have been victims of sexual harassment.
Let that figure sink in, and then think about it for a moment. These are the men and women we entrust with our care when we’re sick, injured, or hospitalized.
Rather than focusing on caring for their patients, 2 in 5 nurses have to worry about sexual harassment on the job.
Granted, sexual harassment in the workplace is a problem in every industry, including healthcare. But nurses—and traveling nurses in particular—face a unique set of challenges.
In this post, we’ll discuss those challenges and why sexual harassment training is vital for all healthcare professionals. Read on to learn more!
Sexual Harassment in Nursing: What Are the Dangers?
Like other industries, nurses often face sexual harassment from co-workers or superiors. One study found that 82% of harassment committed on nurses came from doctors.
Some nurses may find themselves in a situation of quid pro quo, where promotions, raises, or other perks are offered in exchange for sexual favors. At the opposite end of the spectrum, a nurse may be denied a promotion or (even worse) lose their job for refusing to cooperate.
Other nurses face sexual harassment from the very people they’re trying to help—their patients. Harassment could range from unwelcome comments to wandering hands to inappropriate requests. Suggestive jokes or questions and comments about sexual orientation also qualify as harassment.
It’s up to hospital directors and nurse managers to encourage a positive, supportive work environment. Prevention training and a zero-tolerance policy are a must. They also need to take any reports of harassment very seriously.
Special Considerations for Traveling Nurses
Traveling nurses are temporary workers who accept short-term jobs in hospitals and clinics. They may travel to fill a gap created by maternity leave or an unplanned leave of absence. Or they may follow seasonal work as populations fluctuate around the country.
Whatever the circumstances, traveling nurses are particularly vulnerable to harassment. This is due to the power differential between themselves and their superiors. Because their role is “temporary,” they often find themselves at the bottom of the corporate hierarchy.
According to the law, however, it doesn’t matter if their job is permanent or temporary. It doesn’t matter if they’re only there for a few weeks or a few months. Temporary workers, such as traveling nurses, have exactly the same rights as permanent employees.
This is why sexual harassment prevention training is so important for everyone in the industry. This is true regardless of where they fall in the hierarchy. Everyone will know which behaviors are appropriate and which behaviors are unacceptable.
They’ll also understand the steps they need to take if they experience or witness any acts of sexual harassment.
Sexual Harassment Training for Travel Nurses
Regardless of whether it’s required in your state, sexual harassment training shouldn’t be optional.
Nurses, traveling nurses, and all medical professionals need to know their rights when it comes to sexual harassment. There also needs to be clear policies posted in the workplace, as well as mandatory prevention training for all employees.
Did you know you can register for and complete sexual harassment prevention training online? Click here to learn more about our interactive training program.