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Executive Summary

The majority of radiography students experience rewarding academic and clinical placements with supportive teaching teams and clinical educators. Sadly, however, some students experience bullying and harassment. The Society and College of Radiographers (SCoR) believes that bullying and harassment are completely unacceptable in any form.

In September 2010, as part of campaign to tackle bullying in the workplace, the Society and College of Radiographers surveyed students in their second, third and (where applicable) fourth years of studying radiography about their experience during clinical placements. Over 300 students responded to an anonymous online questionnaire primarily designed to capture data on the level of bullying on clinical placements. This document presents the results of this survey and the themes of follow-up correspondence with students. The following bullet points highlight the main findings:

  • One third of respondents said they feel they have been bullied during their clinical placements.
  • Nearly four-fifths of respondents experience at least one of the following symptoms during their clinical placements: self-doubt and loss of confidence; inability to relax or switch off from study; sleeplessness; depression; and loss of appetite. Self-doubt and loss of confidence are the most frequently reported symptoms, but all the symptoms listed are experienced by a significantly high number of respondents.
  • Around one-fifth of respondents have been absent from the department on at least one occasion due to their experience during clinical placements.
  • Around half of respondents who feel that they have been bullied reported it to a member of staff on their clinical placement and/or at their university. When respondents reported the bullying they had mixed results. A number of respondents said that no action was taken as a result of them reporting the bullying or that they were not taken seriously. Some said that the report led to an improvement in the situation, whilst a few said that it had made things worse.
  • Around half of respondents who feel that they have been bullied took no action. Victims who did not report the bullying gave a variety of reasons: they were afraid of making things worse; the bullying was towards all students, not just them; they discussed it with other students; or they just decided to avoid the bully.
  • The vast majority of respondents say that if they witness bullying they will offer to support the victim if they choose to speak up or report the incident in confidence to a responsible person.
  • The SCoR received a number of emails as a result of the online questionnaire. The following themes summarise the main issues raised in this correspondence: racial discrimination; culture of exclusion "students should be seen and not hear"; physical sickness due to experience; reports of bullying not handled correctly; and mature students feeling like they are being treated as children.

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