We have a weekly editorial meeting to review current issues and events that we feel are important to bring to nurses’ attention. Given that the headlines are replete with stories about sexual harassment and assault in various settings and workplaces and that nursing is still a profession with far more women than men, we felt this to be an issue of concern.
Before there were policies.
I’m sure many of us can recount experiences, our own or those of colleagues, that qualify as sexual harassment. Many of us may not have recognized it as such—when I began my career, there was no definition or policy that defined sexual harassment or alerted us to our rights if we were faced with inappropriate remarks or behaviors in the workplace. Now that there are requirements for such policies, nurses—men and women alike—should learn what the policies are and processes for reporting such misconduct.
First topic covered on this blog.
We looked to see how we’d covered this previously, and as it happens, the second post we published on this blog, back in February 2009—the one right after the post welcoming readers to AJN‘s new blog—was about the news that a nurse at a hospital in Queens had won a lawsuit for sexual harassment against a doctor and the hospital that knew about it and did nothing to stop it.
And here we are in 2017 with news stories appearing every day about sexual harassment or assault accusations involving people of status or power: actors, politicians, executives, even one or two editors.
Here’s the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commision definition. Are workplace policies on sexual harassment clear and effective in hospitals and other workplaces? Will the current spotlight on bringing accusations to light have any effect?
Let us know your stories and opinions.