Abuse in Clinical practice by Carlyn Faroe


According to Devon and Torbay’s policy and guidance (2017) institutional abuse refers to the following, “It is any care or activity that is delivered in a way that suits the needs of the organisation and the staff rather than the needs of the service users. This type of abuse can vary in seriousness from poor practice which needs to be addressed with the provider, through to dangerous and abusive practice which needs to be addressed through the multi-agency adult protection policy.”

Institutional abuse occurs in hospitals everyday especially between staff members and healthcare students. Many times students have to pick up the workload of the staff and they take a backseat and relax because the students can do their work for them. In many institutions if you come to certain departments you will see the students are actually running the place and clinicians are either in the tea room or in the passages having conversations with other staff members.

Students are expected to just accept this as learning. However, how are students supposed to learn if they only able to spend 30 minutes with patients because they need to see 10-12 patients a day? According to the University we may not see more than 7-8 patients a day but it is as if clinicians do not take note of this. We end up not being able to do thorough assessments and therefore end up not treating every single problem the patient has then we end up getting into trouble for it or we are told we have no “clinical reasoning”.

We are actually being “institutionally abused” but because we think of these people as future employers or as people that need to fill in a form based on our professionalism we say absolutely nothing and we play the best robot roles we can and say yes to everything they say or ask.

Abuse is something that occurs in many forms and can occur in different places. We have become such robots to this system that we do not even notice or know that we are actually being “institutionally abused”. This is definitely something we should read up on more and become more aware of our rights as healthcare students so that we can not only educate ourselves but also the students that come after us.


Torbay, D. a. (2017, 04 3). What is abuse? Retrieved from UK government: http://www.devon.gov.uk/4.what_is_abuse_-2.pdf


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