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Trainee doctors say nurses and doctors bully them as they're shown the ropes

A new report also found trainees who gained their medical qualification outside Ireland rated learning environments significantly more highly.

Image: Shutterstock/Syda Productions

A NEW REPORT has found that three in ten trainee doctors are bullied at work.

Some 35% of respondents told the Medical Council they have been bullied within their training environment this year.

Half of trainees reported doctors as being the main source of the bullying they’ve experienced, while 36% of trainees reported nurses and midwives as being the main source.

Almost seven in ten trainees who experienced bullying in their learning environment did not report their experience to anyone in authority and, of those who did reported it, almost 40% felt no action was taken.

Bill Prasifka, CEO of the Medical Council, said it was “disappointed that the reported experiences of bullying by trainees is no better this year and that many seem to be receiving little or no feedback and have poor experiences of induction”.

These findings are worrying and need to be addressed as quickly as possible. I am fully aware that the issue of bullying cannot be dealt with overnight and that a cultural shift needs to occur in this instance. However, an improved induction programme or the simple delivery of feedback is something that can in fact be achieved quickly.

The report also found that trainees who gained their basic medical qualification outside Ireland rated learning environments significantly more highly than graduates of Irish medical schools.

Trainees who entered medical school directly from second level education rated their learning environments significantly more highly than graduate-entry trainees.

Intern trainees rated the quality of learning environments significantly lower than all other trainees.

Quality of learning

Trainees also rated induction and orientation very poorly, with slight dis-improvements in 2015.

There was a slight increase in the perception of the quality of learning environments in 2015, and nine in ten trainees rated the quality of care to patients as ‘good or better’.

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Trainees rated teamwork and peer collaboration significantly more highly than in the previous year. The lowest rated aspect of learning environments was feedback on their role.

Three in ten interns disagreed, to some extent, that their previous medical education prepared them well for the intern year.

Professor Freddie Wood, President of the Medical Council, said: “I genuinely believe these reports have the potential to bring about significant and positive changes for trainee doctors here in Ireland.”

The aim of this research is to speak directly to new and recent entrants to medical practice in Ireland to find out what education and training they would have benefitted from when they first arrived in our health system.

“This information will then go on to inform the design of a registration support programme to be delivered by the Medical Council for doctors entering the practice of medicine in Ireland for the first time, which will be known as Safe Start.”

The second annual report, Your Training Counts, can be viewed here.

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About the author:

Órla Ryan

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