Nursing students are at risk of experiencing bullying and abuse from various sources, including their peers, supervisors, and patients. This can have negative impacts on their mental health and well-being and also affect their ability to provide safe and compassionate care to their patients.
In the clinical setting, nursing students may be vulnerable to bullying and abuse from patients, patient families, and even from their clinical instructors or colleagues. Studies have shown that nursing students are at risk of verbal and physical abuse from patients and their families, particularly when working in high-stress or emotionally charged situations (Tan et al., 2020; Akhtar et al., 2020). They may also be at risk of bullying from clinical instructors, who may use belittling or demeaning language or make unrealistic demands on the students (Tan et al., 2020).
In addition to the clinical setting, nursing students may also be at risk of bullying and abuse within the educational institution. This can include bullying and harassment from classmates, or even from faculty members (Tan et al., 2020). In one study, nearly one-third of nursing students reported experiencing bullying or harassment from classmates, while nearly one-quarter reported experiencing bullying or harassment from faculty members (Tan et al., 2020).
The negative impacts of bullying and abuse on nursing students can be significant. It can lead to increased stress, anxiety, and depression, and can also negatively impact their academic performance (Tan et al., 2020). In extreme cases, it can lead to students dropping out of their nursing program or even leaving the nursing profession altogether (Tan et al., 2020).
To address this issue, it is essential for nursing schools and clinical agencies to implement policies and procedures to prevent and address bullying and abuse. This can include providing education and training on appropriate behaviour and communication and establishing a process for reporting and addressing incidents of bullying and abuse. It is also important for nursing students to be aware of their rights and to speak out if they experience bullying or abuse.
Akhtar, S., et al. (2020). Verbal and physical abuse of nursing students by patients and their families: A systematic review. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 76(9), 2280-2293.
Tan, S., et al. (2020). Bullying and harassment of nursing students: A systematic review. Nurse Education Today, 90, 103944.