Nurses targetted by bullying

SCU lecturer Dr Marie Hutchinson.
SCU lecturer Dr Marie Hutchinson. David Nielsen

MARIE HUTCHINSON knows about workplace bullying and the debilitating effect it can have on its victims.

A lecturer at Southern Cross University, Dr Hutchinson completed her PhD in workplace bullying, focusing on the nursing sector.

“Most studies show up to 80 per cent of nurses experience bullying,” she said.

“The bullying is mostly verbal, where people are humiliated and their competence is bought into question. It can end in nurses reducing their work hours or to even leave their job.”

Dr Hutchinson said as well as the emotional toll of being a victim of bullying, it can also affect a person's physical health.

She said exposure to bullying could lead to increased consumption of alcohol and cigarettes.

However, the practice is not confined to nursing, according to UnionSafe NSW, which recently conducted a survey on the issue.

It found 74 per cent of workers had experienced workplace bullying.

After community feedback to this newspaper's successful 'Stop Bullying' campaign over the past six months, including a number of community and youth forums to tackle the problem, The Northern Star will now hold a Bullying in the Workplace Forum at Southern Cross University on August 5, from 6pm to 9pm.

WorkCover NSW says workplace bullying is a 'repetitive behaviour that is inappropriate, unreasonable and sometimes aggressive'.

It said workplace bullying was a serious occupational health and safety issue.

  • Five panellists from different work sectors will talk about the cost of workplace bullying, including the financial, emotional and physical.
  • There will be a 30-minute question/discussion time followed by workshops. Participants will break into two groups, Organisational Group and Personal (experience of workplace bullying), to discuss issues and suggest solutions. There will be an issues and solutions summary for 45 minutes afterwards.
  • The event will be held at Southern Cross University, Room Z181, on August 5, from 6pm-9pm.

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