Junior Doctors Bullied

In our society, we tend to think of doctors as if they were gods. As it turns out, research shows that many of them have to first go through a pretty rough patch before they can gain their elevated status….

Researchers now found that half of junior doctors at New Zealand’s Auckland City Hospital say they have been bullied by nurses or senior doctors. In their experience, 30 per cent of the bullies were nurses, 30 per cent were consultants, followed by patients (25 per cent), radiologists (8 per cent), and registrars (7 per cent). The most common bullying behaviour reported was unjustified criticism, followed by having efforts undervalued and, next, having work undermined. (This data is comparable to the prevalence rates found in overseas surveys of junior doctors.)

Bullying is an ugly phenomenon which feeds on the abuse of power. Paradoxically, it is totally egalitarian in one peculiar way: there is not one direction that it favours…. bullying can occur from top to bottom (i.e. managers toward employees, which is the most prevalent form in the United States), sideways between peers (most prevalent in Scandinavia, where they prefer the term `mobbing’ to `bullying’), or upstream (from employees toward managers).

Now, drawing on your own life experience and observations, which form of bullying is most damaging – top-down, bottom-up or horizontal?

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