Study on Bullying of Nurses and Midwives in the Workplace

May 28 2014 Posted: 16:14 IST

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has teamed up with NUI Galway and the National College of Ireland to undertake a study on bullying of nurses and midwives in the workplace which will be launched in INMO HQ in Dublin at 11am tomorrow, Thursday, 29 May.

The INMO conducted a survey of its members in 1993 which sought to review the extent to which bullying in the workplace was affecting their working life. This led to an INMO policy on bullying and eventually the HSE policy on bullying and harassment being negotiated. Within the Irish Public health care system, bullying in the workplace should be addressed through the HSE’s ‘Dignity at Work Policy’ which came into operation on 1 May 2004. Yet academic and practitioner evidence suggests that nurses and midwives working in Ireland continue to frequently experience workplace bullying. This is reported as having very negative consequences for nurses and midwives’ personal health and personal and family relationships. It also adds to already high levels of stress experienced by members working within the Irish health care system. 

At the INMO’s recent Annual Conference in Kilkenny there was a motion put forward to repeat this study and the Organisation has partnered with NUI Galway and the National College of Ireland to conduct a survey on current levels of workplace bullying experienced by its members. Critically, the survey is seeking nurses/midwives’ input on how bullying can be reduced and what support is needed if they experience or witness bullying in their workplaces. 

The survey will be available on the INMO’s website until 1 July 2014. Input from nurses and midwives is critical to the success of this study which is completely anonymous.

The study is headed by Professor Maura Sheehan at NUI Galway who has published widely on issues of workplace discrimination and injustice. Commenting on the survey, Maura said: “The focus groups that my study colleague, Dr TJ McCabe at the National College of Ireland, has held with nurses and midwives in Ireland about their experiences with bullying were shocking and very disturbing. As researchers, it became clear that we need to conduct a survey of nurses and midwives to establish the extent of this problem and most importantly, to formulate recommendations on how bullying at work can be reduced and the types of support that victims and witnesses need. In order to give our findings credibility, we need a large response rate from all nurses and midwives working in Ireland and specifically INMO members as the largest trade union representing nurses and midwives.”

INMO Director of Industrial Relations, Phil Ní Sheaghdha said: “It is unfortunate that INMO members are still reporting high levels of allegations of bullying in the workplace. Representation of members alleged against, and making allegations, is a big part of the workload of our industrial relations staff. We do need to examine the current situation. We are delighted to have this opportunity to work with the researchers led by Professor Maura Sheehan, to roll out this survey.”

The survey will take about ten minutes to complete online at and the evaluation and results of the survey will be available to the INMO in October 2014.


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