AOM Position Statement on Bullying

The Association of Ontario Midwives (AOM) strongly supports work environments free from harassment and bullying, where clients, midwives and the profession of midwifery can thrive.

Bullying is a form of psychological aggression and intimidation. It is generally associated with a power imbalance between the victim and perpetrator, where the victim is made to feel inferior. Bullying is repeated and persistent behaviour that may be subtle. It may include, but is not limited to: excessive or unjustified criticism, withholding information or resources needed to do one’s job, social isolation, spreading rumours, personal attacks based on a person’s characteristics, and verbal attacks.1

Bullying is insidious in health care1,2 and in the profession of midwifery.3  When surveyed in fall 2017, 81% of respondent midwives reported that they consider bullying to be a major or very significant problem in healthcare and 73% of respondents reported that they consider bullying to be a major problem in the profession of midwifery.3

Bullying can negatively impact the individual’s health, engagement, work satisfaction, and can lead to burnout and the perpetuation of bullying.1,2 Bullying can compromise the quality of care provided.4 As such, bullying impacts the entire profession of midwifery and the health care system.

The AOM:

  • Denounces any behaviour that undermines midwives in any work setting.
  • Believes that all midwives have the right to work in respectful environments that are free from any form of bullying.
  • Supports victims of bullying.
  • Recognizes that colonialism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, sexism, and all other forms of systemic oppression contribute to bullying and negatively impact workplace relations and healthcare spaces, and society. As such, the AOM is committed to developing policies, protocols, programs and services that seek to eliminate systemic barriers, protect and uphold human rights, and promote inclusion in every facet of our work.5
  • Acknowledges that the promotion and creation of a bullying-free workplace is a shared responsibility among all midwifery organizations and midwives.
  • Recognizes the cyclical nature of violence and oppression and supports midwives in critical self-reflection and in unlearning bullying behaviours.6
  • Encourages midwives to foster health in all aspects of life and practice, including working conditions.
  • Calls upon midwives to denounce bullying, to actively contribute to a just culture where midwives raise each other up to reach their full professional potential, and to be leaders in the treatment of each other within the broader healthcare community.

References

Public Services Health and Safety Association. Bullying in the Workplace: A Handbook. 2010. https://www.pshsa.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/BullyWkplace.pdf

2 College of Nurses of Ontario. Conflict Prevention and Management Practice Guideline. 2017. https://www.cno.org/globalassets/docs/prac/47004_conflict_prev.pdf

3 Association of Ontario Midwives. Bullying Survey. October 2017.

4 College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, Ontario Hospital Association. Guidebook for Managing Disruptive Physician Behaviour. 2008. http://www.cpso.on.ca/CPSO/media/uploadedfiles/policies/policies/Disruptive_Behaviour_Guidebook.pdf

5 Association of Ontario Midwives. Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Position Statement. 2009. https://www.ontariomidwives.ca/diversity-equity-inclusion

6 Townsend, Terri. Break the Bullying Cycle. https://www.americannursetoday.com/break-the-bullying-cycle/