It's 'probably the teacher!' A strategic framework for clinical staff engagement in clinical student bullying intervention

Althea Gamble Blakey, Kelby Smith-Han, Lynley Anderson, Emma Collins, Elizabeth K. Berryman, Tim Wilkinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Student bullying in clinical practice persists, and poor outcomes continue: For learning, academic achievement and career goals, for their mental and physical health and potentially affecting all staff and patients in a clinical workplace. We describe an emergent framework for the strategic design of a bullying intervention, presented as a staff development opportunity. Methods: CAPLE (Creating A Positive Learning Environment) was a bullying intervention designed around current best evidence about ameliorating student bullying in the clinical environment. CAPLE was also an action research project delivered in two eight-week cycles, one in 2016 & another in 2017. CAPLE's primary practical foci were to offer clinical staff in two separate hospital wards an opportunity to develop their clinical teaching skills and to guide them in reflection and cultivation of values around students and learning. Research foci were: 1. to gain insight into staff experiences of CAPLE as a development process and 2. to evaluate how CAPLE might best help staff reflect on, discuss and develop values around student learning, to include bullying. Staff undertook five active learning workshops combined with supportive contact with one researcher over the research period. Data include individual interviews, staff and researchers' reflective journals and a paper survey about staff experiences of the 2017 intervention. Results: We confirm the effectiveness of best evidence from the literature and also that a strategic four-part framework of approach, process, content and person can further enhance a bullying intervention by increasing the likelihood of participant engagement, learning and values change. Conclusions: This research aggregates and adds weight to the current literature about student bullying and adds important pragmatic detail about best practice for bullying intervention design and delivery. Ultimately, this emergent framework offers insight to help move past some persistent barriers encountered by those wishing to improve workplace behaviour.
Original languageEnglish
Article number116
JournalBMC Medical Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 25 Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes


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