Bullying and harassment at work - one-third of doctors feel threaten

According to a new national survey, many professionals still complaint about continuous personal attacks, verbal aggressions and so on.

Bullying and harassment at work: at the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine, the members were asked about their experiences at work, and more than one-third said they had experienced bullying. The survey involved more than 2,100 emergency physicians.

Professor Tony Lawler, President of the college, admitted to fell sickened when he read the results, because:

“It is a tragedy that any individual would feel so disempowered and threatened in their workplace that is supposed to be a safe and supported place for them,” he said.

Physicians feel threatened not only by witnesses or relatives of patients but also by their peers while presenting their patients’ cases to other doctors. They’ve been verbally abused and must face personal attacks when seeking feedback about their job performance.

“A consultant [doctor] yelled and shamed me in public”, said one of the interviewed, while another told of “being publicly humiliated on several occasions, in front of patients and colleagues”.

Similar happened to female trainees, who were single out for discrimination and told “not to apply for a resident job if they planned on getting pregnant”.

Sexual harassment was also reported: doctors affirmed they had to go through “unwanted touching, sexual remarks and requests for sex”. Especially for foreign trainee doctors — particularly women. More than 20 per cent of those surveyed experienced harassment, with more than 6 per cent experiencing sexual harassment.

Professor Lawler said it is unacceptable for doctors to treat each other with disrespect.

“We are campaigning on a platform of zero violence in emergency departments and we need to recognise that doesn’t just mean physical violence, it it means emotional violence as well”.

The aim is to consult with members of Australasian College for Emergency Medicine on an action plan to tackle bullying and harassment.

An action plan will be published by the end of November 2017.






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