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Midwifery students’ perceptions of the modifiable organisational factors that foster bullying behaviours whilst on clinical placement. A qualitative descriptive study
journal contributionposted on 20.09.2021, 03:31 by Tanya CapperTanya Capper, Olav MuurlinkOlav Muurlink, Moira WilliamsonMoira Williamson
Problem: An increasing body of research suggests midwifery students experience bullying and harassment whilst on clinical placement. Little is known, however, about factors that foster bullying within this context and how they may be addressed. Aim: To explore and describe midwifery students’ perceptions of what modifiable organisational factors foster bullying behaviours and to map the identified factors against the students’ perceptions of a solution. Methods: A qualitative descriptive design was used. A total of 120 midwifery students from the United Kingdom and Australia participated in this study. Participants completed an online qualitative survey and data was thematically analysed. Findings: The midwifery students in this study perceive that several organisational factors exist that help foster bullying behaviours towards them whilst undertaking clinical placement. Three overarching themes were identified relating to ineffective midwifery mentorship, the high stress environment of the maternity unit, and challenges faced with transparency and whistleblowing. Students identified a range of potential structural responses to bullying. Conclusions: Recommendations are made that midwifery managers and academics acknowledge how students perceive several potentially modifiable organisational factors which either lead to or exacerbate the likelihood of them being the target of bullying whilst on clinical placement. Consideration should be given to solutions that from the student’s perspective may help tackle bullying and subsequently lead to fewer students leaving midwifery education and further depleting the future workforce.