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Nurses more likely to be bullied by colleagues since pandemic

NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard report shows female nurses from black and minority ethnic groups are most likely to be targeted by other members of staff

NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard report shows female nurses from black and minority ethnic groups are most likely to be targeted by other members of staff

More nurses are experiencing bullying and harassment from their colleagues than before the pandemic, while incidents of abuse from patients have dropped.

Female nurses from black and minority ethnic groups are the most likely to experience abuse from other members of staff, according to the latest NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard published by NHS England .

Bullying and discrimination by colleagues and managers

Meanwhile male nurses – from white and black and

NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard report shows female nurses from black and minority ethnic groups are most likely to be targeted by other members of staff

Female nurses from black and minority ethnic groups are most likely to be targeted by other members of staff
Picture: iStock

More nurses are experiencing bullying and harassment from their colleagues than before the pandemic, while incidents of abuse from patients have dropped.

Female nurses from black and minority ethnic groups are the most likely to experience abuse from other members of staff, according to the latest NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard published by NHS England.

Bullying and discrimination by colleagues and managers

Meanwhile male nurses – from white and black and minority ethnic backgrounds – are the most likely group to experience abuse from patients, relatives, and the public.

‘No one should have to go to work and expect unfair treatment because of their race,’ said RCN England director Patricia Marquis.

‘This happens to too many staff from minority ethnic backgrounds, who say they were bullied or discriminated against by their own colleagues and managers at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.’

Key figures from the new report

  • 44% of black and minority ethnic male nurses reported abuse from patients, relatives and the public in 2020, and 42% of white male nurses reported the same
  • 38% of black and minority ethnic female nurses reported abuse from patients, relatives or the public, and 36% of white nurses reported the same
  • Black and minority ethnic female nurses were most likely to have experienced harassment, bullying or abuse from other staff in the past 12 months, with 32% reporting it and almost 30% of black and minority ethnic male nurses reporting the same
  • 27% of white male nurses reported abuse from staff and 25.5% female white nurses reported the same

Source: NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard: 2021 Data Analysis Report for NHS Trusts

Urgent action needed to improve staff experience

The report, published on 7 April, also shows that 32% of black and ethnic minority female nurses had experienced abuse from their peers in 2020, compared to 25.5% for white female nurses.

The figures mean that nurses were among the groups with the highest percentage of bullying among peers, along with women in general management (36%) and in medical and dental (32%).

The RCN said that after seven years of these reports the NHS should be taking urgent action to improve the experience of staff in the workplace.

Ms Marquis said: ‘The reluctance to tackle these problems head on also sends an appalling message to nursing staff overseas who employers are keen to recruit to fill the tens of thousands of vacancies that persist in health and care services.

‘Research indicates there is a link between harmful cultures and the safety of patients, and the well-being of staff, so resolving these issues can’t wait.’

Still much work to be done

NHS England said it recognises there is still much more work to be done to improve inclusivity and in January published its first national guidance, Violence Prevention and Reduction Standard, to clearly set out how incidents should be reported.

Its head of workforce race equality standard Anton Emmanuel said: ‘There remains a lot of work to do to change the experience of black and minority ethnic staff, but it is clear that when monitoring targets are set and evidence-based actions pursued, it is possible to shift staff experience, and the challenge now is to ensure this happens across the whole of the NHS.’


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