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Nursing Students Report That Bullying Is Common

Effects of bullying on this population include anxiety, distress, loss of confidence

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TUESDAY, Aug. 8, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Bullying remains a concern for nursing students and occurs in both clinical and academic settings, according to a small study published online Aug. 3 in the Journal of Clinical Nursing.

Helen Courtney-Pratt, Ph.D., R.N., from the University of Tasmania in Australia, and colleagues conducted semi-structured interviews with a convenience sample of 29 first-, second-, and third-year undergraduate nursing students.

The researchers found that students reported multiple examples of bullying occurring in both clinical and academic settings, although no episodes of bullying were formally reported. Clinicians, facilitators, academics, and fellow students were the perpetrators. Bullying ranged from incivility to physical attacks. The impact of the bullying caused many participants to feel anxious and distressed, it undermined their confidence and perception of competence, and it often led them to question their career choice. Coping strategies included avoidance, trying to "just survive," and seeking support from trusted academic staff, family, and friends.

"Reporting structures and support strategies need to be re-examined, and resilience training is imperative," the authors write.

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