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Visiting Health Education’s Dark Side: Poor care, systemic bullying, academic abuse and more

In conversation with Philip Darbyshire

Nurses, midwives, health professionals and their educators are generally wonderful. They are hard-working, skilled, thoughtful, kind, empathetic, intelligent, nurturing, creative and more. But, what happens when they are not?

We may not enjoy acknowledging it but the reality is that healthcare and nursing have serious, systemic, generational problems with bullying, incivility, collegial abuse and poor care.

We have been ‘discussing’ bullying in healthcare, and nurses specifically, ‘eating their young’ for a generation and more, yet there seems little or no respite from malevolent, destructive presences in clinical AND academic settings and the toxic cultures they create. Some would argue that in fact the situation is worsening.

We face this major issue at the same time as healthcare globally is experiencing a seemingly endless parade of highly critical reports and ‘healthcare scandals’ in acute hospitals, aged care facilities, disability settings and more. From Ely and Normansfield in the 1960s and 1970s we can now add Mid-Staffordshire, Abertawe Bro Morgannwg, Morecambe Bay, Gosport, Winterbourne View, Oakden, Whorlton Hall and more. These reports are as predictable as they are frequent. Account after account of poor care, negligence, denial, duplicity, hostility towards patients, relatives, whistleblowers that can no longer be excused as the work of a ‘few bad apples’. We have rotten orchards.

For educators, our question in this session will be ‘What part of this do WE own? How we discuss this and what we may agree and disagree upon will be telling for the future of healthcare education.

Philip will deliver his workshop on Day 1 of the NET2019 Conference, on 3 September 2019 at 4.45pm, Westminster Theatre, Keele University. 

Book your place on the NET2019 conference here.