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One in four deterred from raising concerns

  • 18 Comments

Nearly a quarter of nurses have been discouraged or warned off raising concerns about patient care, according to a survey carried out for the Royal College of Nursing.

The college expressed concern about the “culture of fear and intimidation” in some workplaces following the publication of the results of an ICM poll of 8,262 nurses.

Out of those who have raised concerns, 46% had raised concerns about patient safety in the last six months. Nearly half, 45%, of those who raised concerns said their employer took no action and 44% said worries about victimisation or reprisals would make them think twice about whistle blowing.

Just over 30% said they did not know whether their organisation had a whistleblowing policy.

One survey respondent, who raised concerns about staffing levels, said: “I put in an incident form highlighting these concerns. I was lambasted by my manager for putting in an incident form, as it would lead to them being questioned by their manager.”

The findings, revealed by the college during its annual congress in Liverpool last week, echo those of two surveys carried out earlier this year by Nursing Times.

Our survey of around 800 nurses in March found the majority who raised concerns over patient care believed they are being ignored or punished for speaking out.

It revealed that 84% of respondents had previously raised concerns about a colleague’s practice or attitude, but 52% said there had been no appropriate outcome as a result of speaking out.

In a separate survey of students, half said they had raised concerns about the practice or attitude of a colleague while on placement. But only 37% of those who raised one said it lead to an appropriate outcome for practice or attitude.

  • 18 Comments

Readers' comments (18)

  • If a 'concern' is raised about a colleague then the person who raised that concern may not know what action has been taken, there is such a thing as confidentiality.

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  • Having listened to nurses of all grades complaining about their colleagues attitude and practice I think we all need to reflect on our own attitude and practice too. There is a lot of bitching and backbiting in this profession and there will always be those who constantly nit-pick, criticise others for no real reason and bitch about staff all the time which are all forms of bullying.
    If a member of staff has a genuine concern about a colleague then they should be able to raise this, the person concerned is entitled to know what they have been accused of too. If it is unproven or unjustified then they should have the support to take action against their accusers, as we all know this rarely happens.
    Putting in incident forms about staffing levels is something that many nurses do, we don't get any feedback or see an improvement so assume our concerns have been ignored or excused.

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  • michael stone

    The college expressed concern about the “culture of fear and intimidation” in some workplaces - Nearly a quarter of nurses have been discouraged or warned off raising concerns about patient care.

    This is appalling - is this survey up-to-date: didn't Francis highlight this as one of his major concerns - I'm shocked that this has yet to be corrected !!!!

    How long does the NHS need to stop the bullying of its staff - it has already had months to sort this one out !!!

    VERY LAX, VERY LAX - PULL YOUR FINGERS OUT, AND GET IT SORTED NOW !!!

    NO EXCUSES -SORT IT

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  • michael stone

    Please note - ironic tone to my previous post, in case anyone had not spotted that !

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  • Nurses don't have to raise a concern to be bullied, victimised, picked on and belittled by their colleagues. All they have to do is turn up for work, be good at their job,or not belong to the 'right crowd'.
    Anyone who does 'raise a concern' or even simply disagrees with the 'wrong' person faces being ostracised and accused of not being a team player.
    Until bullying is stamped out in the nursing profession nothing will change, poor care will continue and all the good, decent, honest and hardworking nurses will feel disillusioned, demoralised and suffer untold stress as a result. That level of stress and unhappiness leads to poor care, it's just a vicious circle that many of us get caught up in.

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  • Anyone got any ideas about how to change this?

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  • We need strong managers with high standards and a zero tolerance to bullying.
    Staff need to feel supported and able to speak up for themselves.
    Anyone who wilfully gossips, spreads rumours or falsely accuses a colleague of some mis-doing needs to be aware they could face strict disciplinary action for their behaviour.
    Get rid of staff who have no right calling themselves 'health care workers'.

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  • Not a list of what you would like change. HOW are you going to action this?

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  • anon 5.21 - is this an interview question? how would you action change yourself?

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  • Anonymous | 30-Apr-2013 6:41 pm

    I asked the question in the vain hope of an enlightened answer. Your comment is as disappointing as it is predictable. I'm only interested in discussion with someone with ideas.

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