Workplace bullying among healthcare professionals in Sweden: a descriptive study

Workplace bullying is a taboo event which occurs worldwide, although the prevalence varies significantly between and within countries. Nurses have been regarded an occupational risk group for bullying at the work place. Bullying in health and social care contexts is sometimes reported as frequent and, other times, as not occurring, which sparked our interest in mapping the occurrence of bullying in the health and social care system in Sweden. Thus, the purpose of the study was to examine the prevalence of bullying, and to discuss cultural traditions and environmental factors that affect bullying in workplaces. The sample (n = 2810) consisted of employees at inpatient wards at four hospitals, and employees at municipal eldercare wards in Sweden. A questionnaire including NAQ‐22 R was distributed and subsequently analysed with descriptive statistics using SPSS. The youngest group of respondents scored higher than the older groups. Using contrasting estimates of bullying, the prevalence varied between 4.1 and 18.5%, with the lowest prevalence in regards to self‐reported exposure. According to the cut‐off scores, NAQ‐22 R, 8.6% of the respondents were occasionally exposed to bullying while 2.3% were considered to be victims of severe bullying. Work‐related negative acts were more common than personal negative acts. The variations in prevalence of bullying as a result of contrasting estimation strategies are discussed from perspective of the ‘law of Jante’, the ‘tall poppy syndrome’ and shame. Bullying deteriorates the working conditions which may have an impact on quality of patient care.

Source : Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences (2019).

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