Many junior doctors experience bullying

April 11, 2002

Many junior doctors in the United Kingdom experience bullying during training, finds a study in this week's BMJ.

An anonymous questionnaire was sent to 1,000 doctors with job grades from house officer to senior registrar. Participants were presented with a definition of bullying and asked to indicate whether they had been subjected to it in the past 12 months and whether they had witnessed others being bullied.

Of 594 completed questionnaires, 220 (37%) reported being bullied in the past year and 84% had experienced at least one bullying behaviour. Black and Asian doctors were more likely to be bullied than white doctors, and women were more likely to report being bullied than men. Reports of bullying did not vary by job grade or age.

These findings should be interpreted cautiously as the study relied on self reports of bullying, and a higher response rate would have been desirable, say the researchers. Nevertheless, the findings suggest that disturbingly high levels of bullying and mistreatment during training are part of many junior doctors' perceptions and experiences, they conclude.


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