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Bullying at work increases long-term absence risk


Frequent bullying increases the likelihood of care home staff taking long-term sickness absence, according to Danish researchers.

They assessed 9,949 staff working in the elderly care sector over one year, of which 1,171 reported being bullied at work.

Writing online in the Journal of Nursing Management, the authors said: “The risk of long-term sickness absence was higher for those frequently bullied even after adjusting for psychosocial work characteristics.”


Readers' comments (4)

  • as care and nursing staff often do not get paid for sickness in the UK, I wonder what the difference would be if the study was run in this country? I suspect it would find poor retention of staff, as the bullying theme is unlikely to be any different. Why not work in the local supermarket for more pay and less misery.
    We know that bullying is rampant in care sector workplaces, what we need to know is how to deal with it and make these pleasant places to work again.

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  • I 100% endorse evidence-based practice and the changes from ritualised practice it has brought about. However, I'm still sometimes amazed at the need to/ability to get funding to research the blindingly obvious.
    Admittedly, Scandinavia is the source of several of the most cited research into bullying/"mobbing"(in their terminology) so those of us who have been victims should probably thank them.
    Not that such research actually does anything to help you recover your health/career/reputation after keeping going through 4yrs of bullying in the mistaken belief that 'the truth will out in the end' and your desire to continue in a profession you love. But then, without condoning it, being the person suffering the consequences, and wishing they'd remember their Code of Conduct, I can sort of understand colleagues who, having witnessed the last 4yrs, wouldn't want to risk being the next in line.

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  • I can complately agree with the comment made 18th May. I was a Social Worker for several years, and for over 3 1/2 years I was bullied persistently at work. It all started because I made a whistleblowing complaint about a manager's dangerous practice, and after that, I was in the firing line. Quite simply because I had a longstanding health condition. This health problem became the means for the bullies to harm me.
    The person being bullied is, as far as I am aware, RARELY at fault. Most victims have done NOTHING to deserve bullying. Often, the only reason they ARE singled out as targets for nasty behaviour is because they are clever, pretty, popular and good at their job. Others have tried to stop bad practice, or improve standards. Some get bullied because of race, sexuality, gender or disability. Does this make a person "bad"? Does it mean they deserve bullying?
    The answer is obvious. NOBODY deserves bullying. It is a vicious, nasty, insidious and small-minded behaviour, done by people who ought to know better. We do not need loads of expensive foreign research to know that. Bullies are dangerous - they damage morale, crush self-esteem, destroy initiative and individuality, and ultimately ruin the workplace, if left unstopped.
    Any Nurse who is a good Nurse, and any other healthcare sector worker who cares about their job and their patients, ought to have the common sense to realise that bullying is wrong. It is a simple moral, and ethical decision - to bully, or not to bully. The bully is weak, jealous, cruel, nasty and immature. They make the WRONG moral choice, and everyone else suffers for it. Patients ultimately suffer too, as the result is often a good member of staff, driven from their job.
    I know how soul destroying it is to be the victim of bullying. I know what it is to leave a job I worked hard for and felt passionately about. No amount of research will rectify this.
    The only way to improvement, is to make it harder for the bully to ever operate - to ever even get a job in healthcare. Make it easier for staff to complain about bullies, and get the right support. Ensure that victims are heard, and really listened to. That their point of view is appreciated. That they are not simply dismissed as "whingers". Victims of bullying need support, care, counselling, mediation, and other assistance - to encourage them to stay at work. They need to know that the bully is being swiftly and effectively dealt with. And if that means that more bullies get the sack - so be it. It is ultimately better for the workplace than losing GOOD staff.

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  • research to confirm the obvious is of little use if the recommendations are not stated with solutions for positive and enduring change. the article cited above is a pay for access one.

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