Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Bullying is not nice

Roger Watson, Editor-in-Chief

Bullying is a problem in nursing as several papers over the years in JAN have shown (Randle 2003, Laschinger et al. 2010). A new paper titled: 'The effect of bullying on burnout in nurses: the moderating role of psychological detachment' and published in JAN by Allen and Holland (2014) examines: 'the relationship between bullying and burnout and the potential buffering effect psychological detachment might have on this relationship'.

Bullying is known to have negative consequences and one of these is burnout which leads to low sense of personal accomplishment, depersonalisation and exhaustion. The idea being tested in the present study was the theory that detachment from work - leisure time, 'recharging batteries' and just getting away from it - would have a positive effect in mediating the effect of bullying. In this sense the study is unique.

The outcome of the study was that, while psychological detachment may alleviate some of the effects of burnout, it did not alleviate the effect of bullying on burnout. Therefore, while 'switching off' from work is useful and should be encouraged, the effect of bullying is pervasive; in the words of the authors: 'Ensuring there are workplace policies and practices in place in healthcare organizations to reduce the instances of bullying and pro-actively address it when it does occur would therefore seem crucial'.


Allen BC, Holland P (2014) The effect of bullying on burnout in nurses: the moderating role of psychological detachment Journal of Advanced Nursing doi: 10.1111/jan.12489

Randle J (2003) Bullying in the nursing profession Journal of Advanced Nursing 4, 395-401

Laschinger HKS, Grau AL, Finegan J, Wilk P (2010) New graduate nurses’ experiences of bullying and burnout in hospital settings Journal of Advanced Nursing 12, 2732-2742

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