Introduction: The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of workplace bullying among junior doctors in Pakistan, identify the types and sources of bullying behaviours and investigate the perceived barriers to making complaints against bullying.
Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional survey of junior doctors using convenience sampling in three tertiary care hospitals in two provinces of Pakistan. Demographic details and information about the different types of bullying behaviours experienced by junior doctors in the 12 months preceding the study were collected using a previously validated list of 20 such behaviours. Respondents were also asked to indicate the sources of bullying, any complaints made and if not, the reasons behind it. The data was analysed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences.
Results: A total of 654 doctors participated in the study. 417 (63.8 percent) of them reported experiencing one or more type of bullying in the past 12 months. 436 (66.7 percent) doctors had witnessed the bullying of others. The most common source of bullying was consultants (51.6 percent). 306 (73.4 percent) respondents did not make a complaint against the bullying.
Conclusion: Bullying is faced by a fairly large proportion of junior doctors in Pakistan. The most frequent perpetrators of this bullying are consultants. Major changes are required at the national, organisational and individual levels in Pakistan to tackle the bullying problem and prevent its adverse consequences in an already vulnerable healthcare delivery system.