fbpx

NHS urged to protect nurses from ‘sex pests’, as 6 in 10 face sexual harassment

One in ten nurses said they had ‘often’ been sexually harassed (Picture: Getty)

Nurses need to be protected against sex pests, a leading union has warned, after a poll found that six in 10 have been harassed at work.

One in ten nurses said they ‘often’ had to put up with sexual harassment, as some suggested that they were expected to deal with abusive behaviour because it is ‘just part of the job’.

More than 2,000 nurses were surveyed by the union Unison and the Nursing Times, which found that 60% had been sexually harassed either by patients or colleagues.

The most common form of harassment was verbal, with 56% reporting that they had been confronted with inappropriate jokes, comments about their appearance, invitations on a date or questions about their private lives.

Some 37% reported unwanted physical advances, including unwelcome touching, hugging or kissing, and invasion of personal space.

For a proportion of the nurses spoken to, sexual harassment was not uncommon, with 11% reporting that they often encountered it and a fifth (21%) saying they faced occasional harassment.

One community nurse polled by researchers said: ‘Sexual harassment needs to be viewed as a more serious offence than it currently is.

thumbnail for post ID 14703869

Boy, 14, ‘racially abused’ before being stabbed to death

‘The response I got from my manager and colleagues was, “well, that’s just part of the job”. It isn’t. It’s offensive and abusive and makes you feel scared to go to work.’

Another nurse added: ‘The public think nurses are fair game, with comments about uniforms. This makes it hard to address as these are our patients and visitors.

‘But trusts need to do more and we need to change the public’s perception from the Carry On film image of nursing.’

Almost three in five of those who had been harassed said it was by a patient, while a quarter said they had been harassed by medical colleagues, and a similar number by other nursing colleagues.

Some 20% explained that that they had been harassed by family and friends of patients.

Josie Irwin, national women’s officer at Unison, said: ‘Harassment of any form is simply wrong.

‘Staff working in the NHS must be able to do their jobs without fear of unwanted attention, lewd remarks or being made to feel uncomfortable.

‘Employers must do their utmost to protect nurses against sex pests, regardless of whether the culprit is a patient or colleague. This survey shows there’s still much more to do.’

Steve Ford, the editor of Nursing Times – which helped conduct the research – added: ‘Sexual harassment in health and care settings fails to get the attention it deserves.

‘The concern is it’s become “normalised” – something that nurses have to endure as part of their everyday working lives.

‘Shockingly, almost three-quarters of those who were harassed didn’t report the incidents to their employer.’

Branding the findings ‘deeply worrying’, he added: ‘This survey has to be the starting point of change. Nursing staff should not be expected or allowed to tolerate sexual harassment. Enough is enough.’

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

For more stories like this, check our news page.


MORE : Student nurses struggling to pay bills after working for free on Covid frontline

Thanks for reading the whole article. If you wish to get an daily update about NHS urged to protect nurses from ‘sex pests’, as 6 in 10 face sexual harassment , click on the bell button to subscribe for the notifications.

Also, we are now available on all social media:
Follow us for Giveaways and Offers: https://www.flow.page/g-covers

For any Paid Promotions contact us here: https://www.flow.page/g-covers