Australian nursing students' experience of bullying and/or harassment during clinical placement

Lea M. Budden, Melanie Birks, Robyn Cant, Tracy Bagley, Tanya Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


Bullying and harassment in nursing are unacceptable behaviours in the workplace. There is a large body of evidence relating this problem, however little of it focuses on the experiences of nursing students. This prospective cross-sectional survey investigated Australian undergraduate nursing students' (N = 888) experiences of bullying and/or harassment during clinical placement. Half (50.1%) of the students indicated they had experienced this behaviour in the previous 12 months. Younger students were more likely to be bullied/harassed than older students (p = 0.05). Participants identified perpetrators of bullying/harassment as registered nurses (56.6%), patients (37.4%), enrolled nurse's (36.4%), clinical facilitators (25.9%), preceptors (24.6%), nurse managers (22.8%) and other student nurses (11.8%). The majority of students reported that the experience of being bullied/harassed made them feel anxious (71.5%) and depressed (53.6%). Almost a third of students (32.8%) indicated that these experiences negatively affected the standard of care they provided to patients with many (46.9%) reconsidering nursing as their intended career. In the face of workforce attrition in nursing, the findings of this study have implications for education providers, clinical institutions and the profession at large.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-133
Number of pages9
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017


  • Bullying
  • Clinical placement
  • Harassment
  • Incivility
  • Nursing students
  • Workplace violence

Cite this