Objectives Bullying of trainee doctors has been shown to be associated with detrimental outcomes for both doctors and patients. However, there is limited evidence regarding the level of bullying of trainees within medical specialties.
Methods An annual survey of UK cardiology trainees was conducted through the British Junior Cardiologists’ Association between 2017 and 2020 and asked questions about experiencing and witnessing bullying, and exposure to inappropriate language/behaviour in cardiology departments. Fisher’s exact tests and univariable logistic regression models were used to describe associations between trainee characteristics, and reports of bullying and inappropriate language/behaviour.
Results Of 1358 trainees, bullying was reported by 152 (11%). Women had 55% higher odds of reporting being bullied (OR: 1.55 95% CI (1.08 to 2.21)). Non-UK medical school graduates were substantially more likely to be bullied (European Economic Area (EEA) OR: 2.22 (1.31 to 3.76), non-EEA/UK OR: 3.16 (2.13 to 4.68)) compared with those graduating from UK-based medical schools. Women were more likely than men to report sexist language (14% vs 4%, p<0.001). Non-UK medical school graduates were more likely to experience racist language (UK 1.5%, EEA 6%, other locations 7%, p=0.006). One-third of trainees (33%) reported at least one inappropriate behaviour with 8% reporting being shouted at or targeted with spontaneous anger. Consultants in cardiology (82%) and other specialties (70%) were most commonly implicated by those reporting bullying.
Discussion Bullying and inappropriate language are commonly experienced by cardiology trainees and disproportionately affect women and those who attended non-UK medical schools. Consultants both in cardiology and other specialties are the most commonly reported perpetrators.
- inservice training
- quality of healthcare
Data availability statement
Data are available upon reasonable request.
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Contributors CFC, AJ, HCS and CA were involved in the development of the survey and acquisition of survey data. CFC, CA, AC and SR developed the analysis plan. CFC undertook statistical analysis. AM undertook qualitative analysis. All authors were involved in the interpretation of data and results. All authors contributed to the preparation, critical review and approved the final manuscript.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
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Competing interests None declared.
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