More than 50% of student nurses are verbally abused

Nearly half of student nurses surveyed by a London University have been verbally abused while on their work experience placements, according to new research.

The research was presented at the Royal College of Nursing's 2007 International Research Conference in Dundee.

Terry Ferns, a senior lecturer, and Professor Liz Meerabeau at the University of Greenwich in London surveyed 114 third year student nurses in the south east of England. They found 46 per cent had reported they had been verbally abused by patients, relatives or staff. More than a third (39 per cent) had seen other students being verbally abused and 61 per cent said they were aware of other students experiencing verbal abuse. Eight percent said they had received death threats.

Dr Peter Carter, General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said: 'Student nurses should not have to endure any kind of abuse when they are supposed to be learning in a safe and supportive environment. At this crucial and formative time in their careers we need to make sure student nurses get the training and support they need from trusts and their mentors to be able to diffuse tense situations so they do not escalate. If not, we run the risk of losing their skills and talent for good.'

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