Nurses face workplace bullying, study finds

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More than 50% of all nurses report that they have been bullied at work. A full 90% have witnessed an act of intimidation while doing their jobs, a new survey published in the latest issue of the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing says.

Physicians are the biggest culprits, sometimes deriding nurses in front of other staff or even patients, according to the report. Nurses, too, are often to blame, making inappropriate personal comments or refusing assistance. Nurses, however, tend to pass off peer-to-peer bullying as a hazard of the trade, using phrases like "we eat our young" to describe the culture of hostility.

Also noted in the survey: 75% of nurses feel that these practices distract them from caregiving and reduce patient satisfaction. Some experts have expressed a concern that constant undermining of coworkers could drive some nurses away from the profession at a time when the clinical setting is already facing a shortage of skilled hands.

The report can be viewed at http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/loi/JOGN.