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Take a Stand to Stop Bullying in Healthcare and Everywhere

Zero tolerance: bullyingGrowing up as an introverted, quiet child who was bullied, I often felt alone, neglected and caged in. I could run away or fight back when absolutely necessary. However, I had a hard time sharing my story. I kept to myself, often pretending that nothing in the outside world had a capacity to harm me.

In reality every harsh word, every cutting remark and every beating I took created deep wounds that became more and more painful as time went by. The most hurtful was the fact that those wounds were inflicted by my own clan, the ones who were supposed to provide support.

Years have passed since then. I can put those events into perspective now. I also understand how my own way of handling what was going on made matters worse for me. The most important lesson I learned is that the biggest weapon a bully has is our silence.

Often in our desire to be a part of a group whether it is a family unit, circle of friends or fellow professionals, we try to play things down. We also fear retaliation and do not want to make the bullies more mad than they already are.

Since bullies frequently threaten us by promising further harm if we were to ever speak out, we frequently find ourselves suffering silently. Our silence is what enables the bullies to continue to bully others.

However, once we break the silence and do it consistently suddenly the tables begin to turn. Nothing makes a bully more afraid than your act of speaking out not only for yourself but also for others who may not have the courage to do so themselves.

Bullying has reached dangerous proportions in every sector. However, there are two places where bullying has the potential of doing the most harm the schools and the healthcare system.

Both schools and the healthcare system deal with the most vulnerable populations and therefore have more potential of abuse and bullying.

In healthcare bullying can be as subtle as withholding information to keep patients from choose a treatment approach that may not benefit the system through revenue generation. An overconfident, patriarchal provider may also bully patients through their all knowing attitudes to choose the treatment options that may not serve the patients the best.

Therefore, it is of utmost importance that we as patients and consumers of healthcare advocate for ourselves and those we love. The best way to advocate for ourselves is to make informed choices by gathering information from more than one source. This is specially important if the one providing information benefits financially from steering you in a particular direction.

Remember, nothing puts a stopper to bullying than well informed and outspoken people who know how to effectively use their voice.

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