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'Workplace bullying remains a significant issue for the nursing profession'


Evidence in the US suggests 60% of all new nurses quit their first job within the first year due to workplace behaviour issues

It is over three years since the publication of the Francis report, which highlighted a culture of workplace bullying and fear, and demonstrated the consequences to patients and staff. Yet workplace bullying remains a significant issue for the nursing profession worldwide, and not only involves managers bullying their staff but also nurses bullying each other. Evidence from the US suggests 60% of all new nurses quit their first job within the first year due to workplace behaviour issues and 48% of graduating nurses are concerned they will become the target of workplace bullying.

This reminded me of an excellent article in our archive that explores the research into bullying and its causes, as well as different types of bullying and its impact on victims. You will find the section on combating, preventing and dealing with the problem particularly useful.

It is important to understand why pain occurs

A few months ago I had the misfortune of falling off my bike, breaking a bone and having surgery. One of the most important elements of my recovery has been adequate pain relief and knowing how to manage my drug therapy. Pain is debilitating as it affects every aspect of life. It is important to understand why pain occurs, how it is perceived and why assessment and regular reassessment is so important. If you would like to learn more about acute pain, read our series which starts with an overview of how the body detects painful stimuli.

I was talking to a friend a few weeks ago who has developed a venous leg ulcer. Her nurse has given her lots of information about how ulcers heal but my friend’s main concern is that it smells and she is anxious about going out and meeting people. Leg ulcers are increasingly common and can heal with appropriate treatment but this depends on accurate assessment and diagnosis.

In an article in Nursing Times Irene Anderson, an expert on leg ulcers, compares the assessment process to “doing a multidimensional jigsaw puzzle, in which all the pieces need to fit together to make a whole picture that has depth and meaning”. In her article Irene describes the key points of assessment including the complex social and psychological impact these ulcers have on patients. This and the other articles highlighted are well worth a read.


Readers' comments (4)

  • I am glad this is highlighted in your publication, as staffing gets worse and the workplace environment becomes more stressful nurses are already under unbearable pressure. I am a very experienced nurse with 35 years experience and yet have been subject to bullying in the workplace in my current job. However I refuse to let the bully win there has been little support from my manager other than to acknowledge the behaviour of the bully and adjust the rota accordingly. A younger less life experienced nurse I fear would have quit. The nursing profession needs to address bullying in all its forms and deal with it appropriately. I once had a conversation with a student nurse and she said to me she couldn't believe that in a caring profession people could be so horrible to each other.

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  • I left my last job in the NHS when I was a charge nurse on a mental health ward.
    The new matron at the time did not like me, which got to the point where I had to leave.

    I am now working as a band 5 in my current employment; What was very touching all the staff I worked with and supported missed me very much, but at the time I couldn't cope with the extra stress, I loved working with the client group I was with for 6 years and became an expert in this field of nursing.

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  • Such a shame.

    Maybe this blog I wrote last year will help someone...

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  • I wrote a dissertation on horizontal bullying within nursing 10 plus years ago. It was viewed with horror by my tutor (thanks for your lack of support) but I did it anyway. It was well researched and well written, but didn't get the marks I expected or in line with previous work because it's nursing's dirty, not so secret, secret, and no one wants to, or has ever had the guts to address it. I have every sympathy with anyone who has been bullied and it is endemic in nursing. It needs to be addressed and soon. I now work in the private sector and it is a joy after battling against the tyranny that can be nursing. I could write a book, never mind a dissertation, but whilst it is brushed under the carpet nothing will change.

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