Workplace Bullying in Radiology and Radiation Oncology

J Am Coll Radiol. 2017 Aug;14(8):1089-1093. doi: 10.1016/j.jacr.2016.12.021. Epub 2017 Feb 6.


Workplace bullying is common in health care and has recently been reported in both radiology and radiation oncology. The purpose of this article is to increase awareness of bullying and its potential consequences in radiology and radiation oncology. Bullying behavior may involve abuse, humiliation, intimidation, or insults; is usually repetitive; and causes distress in victims. Workplace bullying is more common in health care than in other industries. Surveys of radiation therapists in the United States, student radiographers in England, and physicians-in-training showed that substantial proportions of respondents had been subjected to workplace bullying. No studies were found that addressed workplace bullying specifically in diagnostic radiology or radiation oncology residents. Potential consequences of workplace bullying in health care include anxiety, depression, and health problems in victims; harm to patients as a result of victims' reduced ability to concentrate; and reduced morale and high turnover in the workplace. The Joint Commission has established leadership standards addressing inappropriate behavior, including bullying, in the workplace. The ACR Commission on Human Resources recommends that organizations take steps to prevent bullying. Those steps include education, including education to ensure that the line between the Socratic method and bullying is not crossed, and the establishment of policies to facilitate reporting of bullying and support victims of bullying.

Keywords: Bullying; health care; radiologists; technologists; workplace bullying.

MeSH terms

  • Bullying*
  • Delivery of Health Care*
  • England
  • Humans
  • Radiation Oncology*
  • Radiology*
  • United States
  • Workplace / psychology*