Nurses in fear of bullies at work, RCN study finds

to one in six nurses has been bullied, a report by the Royal College of Nursing
has found.

survey of 4,500 nurses found that 17 per cent reported having been harassed in
the previous 12 months by another member of staff, with the proportion rising to
29 per cent among respondents from ethnic minorities. A third of those affected
intended to leave.

organisations must introduce and implement effective anti-harassment
programmes,” said Christine Hancock, RCN general secretary. “Nurses need to be
able to work free from fear.”

Theobald, head of personnel at Basildon and Thurrock NHS Trust, said HR
managers cannot rely on grievance procedures to deal with bullying because
evidence is difficult to establish.

case has to be looked at on its own merits if someone has a relationship with a
superior and feels he or she is being intimidated,” he said.

these cases quite often mundane comments take on additional meaning, so it is
very hard for the individual to say, ‘There is the evidence’.

is usually long-term, covert and there are no witnesses.”

Cleary, HR manager at Poole Hospital NHS Trust, said the hospital does not use
the grievance procedure for the same reasons.

process that we adopt is always one of working with the individuals to look at
the reasons for the behaviours and look at replacing negative behaviour with
what we would expect. It is a case of drawing the line but educating staff.”

trust has held training on awareness of bullying and urges staff to report

NHS trusts have been prompted to address the issue since protecting staff from
assaults and poor treatment – more typically from members of the public – has
become a priority after the Government set out its national HR strategy for the
NHS in 1997.

Philip Whiteley

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