Few cases of bullying of nurses are resolved and when action is taken it's often not effective.
That's the conclusion Dr Kate Blackwood came to when interviewing 34 nurses who were targets of workplace bullying for her doctorate thesis.
She found only one case was ever completely resolved.
The Massey University management lecturer, who graduates with her doctorate at the university's Auckland graduation this week, says the nurses were very emotional as they recalled their experiences.
Intervention in escalated cases of bullying was hardly ever effective.
"Some people never reported the bullying at all, then nearly half of those who did report it found that no action was taken," Dr Blackwood says.
Many bullying targets simply end up leaving their jobs.
Having a workplace bullying policy was not enough, she said.
"Workplaces need to create an environment where people understand what bullying is and ensure there is a culture where bullying isn't tolerated."