Essay on Bullying Within the Nursing Profession in Australia

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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…show more content…
Workplace bullying often involves the abuse or misuse of power and authority within an organisation. Olender-Russo (2009) explains that due to power imbalances and the hierarchal structure of nursing, the bullying victim is often the graduate nurse. Research suggests that graduate nurses may be predominantly targeted as they are viewed as representing a traditional subordinate role within the medical model of healthcare (Simone, 2008). This view is supported by the commonly used expression “nurses eat their young”. Victims of workplace bullying often experience negative physical and psychological reactions to bullying, including sleeplessness, anxiety, stress, self- hatred, powerlessness, decrease in confidence and anger (Randle, 2006). Johnson (2009) explains that workplace bullying can also impact the organisation through decreased productivity, increased sick leave and employee attrition. Bullying within the nursing profession is a complex phenomenon and needs to be understood through an examination of the historical, social, political and economic factors that contribute to its proliferation. Nursing has existed in various forms in every culture, although the definition of the term and the practice of nursing has changed greatly over time. Donohue (1996) further explains this concept, describing
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