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Keywords:

  • bullying;
  • health;
  • intention to leave;
  • prospective study;
  • turnover;
  • work conditions

hogh a., hoel h. & carneiro i.g. (2011) Journal of Nursing Management19, 742–751 Bullying and employee turnover among healthcare workers: a three-wave prospective study

Aim  To investigate the risk of turnover among targets of bullying at work.

Background  Exposure to bullying seems to leave targets with intentions to leave their workplaces. However, it is uncertain to what extent they actually leave.

Method  Data were collected by questionnaires in a three-wave study among Danish healthcare workers at the time of graduation (T1), 1 (T2) and 2 years (T3) later. We followed 2154 respondents who participated in all three waves.

Results  The first year after graduation, 9.2% reported being bullied at work, 1.8% frequently. Follow-up analyses showed a strong relationship between exposure to bullying at T2 and turnover at T3 [odds ratio (OR) for frequently bullied = 3.1]. The inclusion of push factors such as low social support and low sense of community, intention to leave and ill health did not change the relation between bullying and turnover significantly. Three reasons for quitting stood out among reasons given by the bullied respondents: poor leadership, being exposed to negative behaviour and health problems.

Conclusion  Bullying may be costly to an organization in terms of staff turnover and subsequent recruitment and training of replacements.

Impact for Nursing Management  Managers should regularly monitor the psychosocial work environment. To prevent bullying local policies and procedures should be developed, implemented and evaluated.