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Bullying affecting nurses and medical specialists

Media release                                                        24 November 2017


The collegial mood suffers in cash starved system


The NZNO Employment Survey and our Kai Tiaki journal reporters have repeatedly found that when bullying occurs in nursing it has a huge effect on the nurse and colleagues to the point nurses leave for other jobs, go overseas or leave the profession altogether. Chief Executive Memo Musa says the reporting of bullying by senior medical specialists is not surprising and he backs the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists’ call to bring this serious matter to the attention of DHB leaders and governance.


“NZNO leadership will talk with Ian Powell shortly as nurses have this issue too and we know that nurses are leaving the workforce for a different career because of it. This is the opposite of what this country needs, let alone our patients,” Memo Musa said.


“Our report into short staffing at Counties Manukau DHB clearly showed that when there is under staffing, the climate of discomfort in the workplace goes up with one nurse reporting being yelled at if they request help.


“We know that in an underfunded health system the internal stress and pressure takes its toll. When nurses and doctors and other professionals are thin on the ground and working double shifts, the working environment  is not good, healthy or staff do not feel safe to speak up against bullying.


“The June edition of Kai Tiaki focused on a story of a nurse bullied so much by a charge nurse for two years she simply walked away even though she had asked for it to stop and be addressed. She felt that management did not manage the bully but rather, just advised her to get counselling.


“This article gained a huge amount of comment on Facebook as others poured out there stories of feeling that nothing was ever done about it and it was part of the suffering in the job. This is outrageous considering nurses are highly regarded by society yet too often treated badly in their employment situation.


“The December issue of Kai Tiaki will feature a story of two nurses who have opted out of the profession because of the bullying culture and other dysfunctional behaviour in the health sector.


“We know that Lakes DHB, Auckland DHB and Capital and Coast DHB for example are proactively tackling this problem and it is commendable. But there is a long way to go for the entire staff management system to operate in a way that protects all staff and has the right management and skill mix to avoid bullying and to indeed address it,” Memo Musa said.







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