Bullying Within the Nursing Profession in Australia Essay

Bullying Within the Nursing Profession in Australia Essay

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Workplace bullying is increasingly being recognised as a serious problem in society. Reports from the general media and professional press suggest that there is increasing evidence that the scale of bullying, harassment and violence amongst health care staff is widespread (UNISON, 2003). Chaboyer, Najman, and Dunn (2001) explain that although nursing in Australia is now considered a profession, the use of horizontal violence, bullying and aggression in nursing interactions has been identified as a serious problem. Levett-Jones (as cited in Clare, White, Edwards, & van Loon, 2002) explains that the recipients or victims of bullying within the nursing profession are often graduate nurses, with 25% of graduates reporting negative experiences. Bullying behaviour often renders the workplace a harmful, fearful and abusive environment and has a devastating effect on the nurse, healthcare team and patient. This essay will discuss the issue of bullying within the nursing profession, with a particular focus on the experiences of graduate nurses. The contributing historical, social, political and economic factors will be explored in order to better understand the origins of this trend. The subsequent impact of bullying on nursing practice will be analysed and recommendations for practice, supported by current literature, will be provided.
Workplace bullying is defined as any as any type of repetitive abuse in which the victim of the bullying behaviour suffers verbal abuse, threats, humiliating or intimidating behaviours, or behaviours that interfere with his or her job performance and are meant to place at risk the health and safety of the victim (Murray, 2009). Bullying can take many forms, some blatant, others more subtle. Researchers ha...


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Simone, S. (2008). Workplace bullying experienced by Massachusetts registered nurses and the relationship to intention to leave the organization. ANS Advances in Nursing Science, 31(2). Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18497581

Stevens, S. (2002). Nursing workforce retention: Challenging a bullying culture. Health Affairs, 21(5): 189-193.

Sunderland, L., & Hunt, L. (2001). Bullying: An unrecognised road much travelled by nurses. Australian Nursing Journal, 9( 2), 39-40.

UNISON. (2003). Bullying at work. Retrieved from http://www.unison.org.uk/acrobat/13375.pdf
Yildirim, D. (2009). Bullying among nurses and its effects. International Nursing Review, 56(4), 504-511. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19930081

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