Nursing students’ experiences of bullying in clinical practice

Florence L. Luhanga, Vivian A. Puplampu, Sherry Arvidson, Adeyemi Ogunade


Bullying is a major concern in the nursing profession because of its implications for patients’ safety, the health of nurses and nursing students, as well as on the workforce in the healthcare system. The purpose of the study was to explain the incidence and state of bullying experienced by nursing students in the undergraduate nursing program during clinical practice. Fifty-five undergraduate nursing students participated in the mixed methods research conducted in a tertiary institution in Western Canada. Participants completed an online survey and an individual interview. Survey data were analyzed using descriptive statistics while thematic analysis was employed for the open-ended questions on the survey and individual interviews. The findings from the study showed that a small number of students four (7.7%) frequently experienced bullying in the clinical setting with clinical instructors and practicing nurses being the main perpetrators. Students reported anxiety connected with going for clinical practice however a unique finding from this study was that the affected students continued to go for clinical practice and decided to remain in the program because of their goal to become registered nurses. Peers from the program were one of the key support systems for the students when they experienced the negative behavior. Irrespective of the low incidence of bullying at the research site, the impact of the behavior aligns with the literature. The findings from this study has the potential to inform clinical practices and policies in undergraduate nursing programs.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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