Over half of newly qualified nurses are bullied at work, claims study

Newly qualified nurses said they has been subjected to “disrespectful, unprofessional and uncivil” behaviour. 

Ian Snug
26 February 2019
Nurse in hallway

Newly qualified nurses are “humiliated and belittled in public over their perceived insufficiencies”.

A study published in the International Journal of Nursing Studies and completed by researchers from the School of Nursing and Midwifery at the University of Newcastle in Australia has revealed that newly qualified nurses are “humiliated and belittled in public for their perceived insufficiencies”.


Over half of the newly qualified nurses included in the study said they had been subjected to “disrespectful, unprofessional and uncivil” behaviour.

The authors warned that newly qualified nurses are especially prone to this “negative workplace behaviour” due to their vulnerability in the profession, perceived lack of capability, hierarchy, leadership style and the influence of management.

‘An international problem’.

“The negative behaviour was identified as either a personal or professional attack, which left new graduates feeling emotional distress, anxiety or depression, which in turn impacted upon job satisfaction, cynicism, burnout, and intention to leave,” warned the authors.

Adding that this type of behaviour is not only detrimental to graduates but also to “the safety of patients, the organisation, and the whole nursing profession.”


The researchers concluded that this “behaviour towards new graduate nurses continues to be an international problem” and a “multi-level comprehensive interventions in order to transform the ‘civility norms’ of the nursing profession” was needed.

Managers and organisations needed to ensure staff feel able to report negative behaviour and enforce a zero tolerance policy.

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