Prevalence of bullying, discrimination and sexual harassment among trainees and fellows of the college of intensive care medicine of Australia and New Zealand

Bala Venkatesh, Charlie Corke, Raymond Raper, Mary Pinder, Dianne Stephens, Gavin Joynt, Peter Morley, Rinaldo Bellomo, Rob Bevan, Ross Freebairn, Benoj Varghese, Michael Ashbolt, Felicity Hawker, Stephen Jacobe, Sarah Yong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Anecdotal reports about bullying behavior in intensive care emerged during College of Intensive Care Medicine (CICM) hospital accreditation visits. Bullying, discrimination and sexual harassment (BDSH) in the medical profession, particularly in surgery, were widely reported in the media recently. This prompted the College to formally survey its Fellows and trainees to identify the prevalence of these behaviours in the intensive care workplace. Methods: An online survey of all trainees (n = 951) and Fellows (n = 970) of the CICM. Results: The survey response rate was 51% (Fellows, 60%; trainees, 41%). The overall prevalences of bullying, discrimination and sexual harassment were 32%, 12% and 3%, respectively. The proportions of Fellows and trainees who reported being bullied and discriminated against were similar across all age groups. Women reported a greater prevalence of sexual harassment (odds ratio [OR], 2.97 [95% CI, 1.35–6.51]; P = 0.006) and discrimination (OR, 2.10 [95% CI, 1.39–3.17]; P = 0.0004) than men. Respondents who obtained their primary medical qualifi cation in Asia or Africa appeared to have been at increased risk of discrimination (OR, 1.88 [95% CI, 1.15–3.05]; P = 0.03). Respondents who obtained their degree in Australia, New Zealand or Hong Kong may have been at increased risk of being bullied. In all three domains of unprofessional behaviour, the perpetrators were predominantly consultants (70% overall), and the highest proportion of these was ICU consultants. Conclusions: The occurrence of BDSH appears to be common in the intensive care environment in Australia and New Zealand.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)230-234
Number of pages5
JournalCritical Care and Resuscitation
Volume18
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • College of Intensive Care Medicine of Australia and New Zealand
  • bullying
  • discrimination
  • sexual harassment
  • surgery
  • intensive care unit
  • Unprofessional behaviour
  • medical trainees

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