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Keywords:

  • Aged Care;
  • Australia;
  • Bullying;
  • Depression;
  • Hospital;
  • Psychological Distress

RODWELL J. & DEMIR D. (2012) Psychological consequences of bullying for hospital and aged care nurses. International Nursing Review

Aim:  This study examines the psychological consequences of workplace bullying by negative affectivity (NA) and demographics for hospital and aged care nurses.

Introduction/Background:  Nurses are particularly vulnerable to workplace bullying, with suggestions that oppressed group behaviours may play a role. Bullying is a potent stressor that can negatively impact psychological well-being, which, with NA and demographics, may be important in understanding the consequences of nurse bullying. Such factors are yet to be examined together across different nursing contexts.

Methods:  A cross-sectional survey was conducted across hospital and aged care nurses working within a medium to large Australian healthcare organization in October 2009. The sample comprised 233 (29.1%) hospital and 208 (43.8%) aged care nurses. Analyses of covariance were used to evaluate the data.

Results:  For hospital nurses, psychological distress was noted as an impact of bullying, while depression was the impact for aged care nurses. Full-time aged care nurses reporting bullying had higher psychological distress scores, compared with part-time workers in the same area. NA was a significant covariate across both outcomes in both contexts.

Discussion/Conclusion:  This study demonstrates that bullying has detrimental consequences for the mental health of nurses in both hospital and aged care contexts. The results support the suggestion that nurses are an oppressed group at high risk of bullying, confirm the intrinsic nature of NA to the bullying process, and highlight the importance of employment type for aged care nurses. Given the shortage of nurses, managers need to give higher priority to addressing workplace bullying and implementing zero tolerance policies.