New research has revealed a high prevalence of bullying, discrimination and sexual harassment experienced by doctors in ICUs. The findings confirm that the health sector has a continuing problem with unlawful workplace behaviour, which can have significant negative impacts on individuals and organisations.
Recent media interest in bullying, discrimination and sexual harassment in the medical profession prompted the College of Intensive Care Medicine of Australia and New Zealand to formally survey its fellows and trainees about these behaviours in Intensive Care Units (ICUs). The survey found the prevalence of bullying, discrimination and sexual harassment in ICUs to be 32%, 12% and 3%, respectively .
The findings come nine months after the Victorian Auditor-General released a report into bullying and harassment in the health sector, which noted that 25% of Victorian health agency employees reported experiencing bullying, and 40% of nursing professionals reported experiencing bullying or harassment within the past year .
The Auditor-General highlighted the negative impacts of bullying and harassment on individuals, which can include serious physical, psychological and financial harm, as well as the impacts on workplaces.
The negative impacts of bullying and harassment on individuals include:
- high staff turnover and associated recruitment and training costs
- reduced productivity through poor morale and demands on management time
- difficulties in recruiting and retaining staff
- the potential for significant legal costs and reputational damage.
The report recommended that health agencies tackle the problem by implementing improved policies and procedures, as well as training and education.
The President of the College of Intensive Care Medicine, Associate Professor Charlie Corke, stated that the college is cracking down on inappropriate behaviour.
Three Things to Remember about Workplace Behaviour in the Health Sector:
- The health sector suffers from widespread unlawful workplace behaviour, including bullying, discrimination and sexual harassment. These can have significant negative impacts on individuals and organisations.
- Effective policies and procedures, plus education and training, are crucial for preventing and dealing with these harmful behaviours.
- The health sector suffers from widespread unlawful workplace behaviour, including bullying, discrimination and harassment. These can have significant negative impacts on individuals and organisations.
Learning Seat can assist by providing clients with policies and training addressing workplace bullying, sexual harassment, equal opportunity and gender diversity. Contact us to find out how we can help change workplace behaviour for good.