The nursing organisation workplace has been identified as one in which workplace bullying occurs quite frequently.[1][2] It is thought that relational aggression (psychological aspects of bullying such as gossipping and intimidation) are relevant. Relational aggression has been studied amongst girls but not so much amongst adult women.[3][4] According to a finding, 74% of the nurses, 100% of the anesthetists, and 80% of surgical technologists have experienced or witnessed uncivil behaviors like bullying by nursing faculty.[5]

Various bullying permutations are possible, such as:

Bullying acts

Lewis identifies the following bullying acts in UK nursing:[6]

Such acts are frequently insidious, continuing over periods of time that may be years. Bullies are often serial bullies. The bullies are invariably aware of the damage they are doing. They undertake such actions basically to gain control and power.


Laschinger, Leiter, Day, and Gilin found that among 612 staff nurses, 67.5% had experienced incivility from their supervisors and 77.6% had experienced incivility from their coworkers.[7] Rude remarks from a patient or family member can distract healthcare professionals and cause them to make mistakes and to provide suboptimal healthcare.[8][9]

Bullying of nurses by managers

In 2003 the Community Practitioners' and Health Visitors' Association in the UK carried out a survey showing that half of the health visitors, school nurses and community nurses working in the National Health Service (NHS) have been bullied by their managers. One in three of the 563 people questioned said the bullying was so bad they had to take time off work. Constant criticism and humiliation were the most common complaints. Others said they were shouted at or marginalised.[10]


Not only does incivility in nursing has a negative influence in the well-being of staff, the delivery of quality care, and the culture of safety, but also contributes to the nursing faculty shortage.[11] There is an increase in nurses' dissatisfaction in their jobs, which is contributing to the ongoing struggle with nurses leaving faculty positions and taking early retirement. Therefore, it is necessary for all healthcare faculty members to have a clear understanding of the cause and effect of incivility and possible strategies to reduce incivility rate.

Nurse bullying inventory

In order to further investigate and understand the impact of workplace bullying on the nursing work environment, an inventory was developed to address specific workplace bullying constructs within the nursing context.[1]

Associated terms

Horizontal violence[12] is often the same term used when referring to bullying in nursing. This term describes the appalling behavior shown by colleagues in the nursing field. Such demeaning behavior makes the work place stressful and unpleasant. Another term associated with bullying in nursing is lateral violence. This term is used to describe the effect that bullying takes on someone lower down on the ladder of workforce, making it hard to climb that ladder.

Remedial action

Some health organizations are seeking to educate staff and health care team members on how to improve social interactions, proper business etiquette, and foster positive people skills in the work environment. Nurses are entitled to monetary compensation for bullying.[13][14][15][16] In addition, communication and collaboration are first and foremost steps to improve nursing faculty member's ability to initiate professional relationships with both colleagues and patients. Workshops, open forums, counseling, and mentoring are also possible options to manage bullying in nursing.

See also


  1. ^ a b Hutchinson, M; Wilkes, L; Vickers, M; Jackson, D (2008). "The development and validation of a bullying inventory for the nursing workplace". Nurse Researcher. 15 (2): 19–29. doi:10.7748/nr2008. PMID 18283759.
  2. ^ Porter-O'grady, T (2008). "Transforming work environments. Interview by Diane E Scott and Amanda Rosenkranz". The American Nurse. 40 (2): 7. PMID 18494401.
  3. ^ Richards A, Edwards SL A Nurse's Survival Guide to the Ward (2008)[page needed]
  4. ^ Dellasega, Cheryl A. (2009). "Bullying among nurses". The American Journal of Nursing. 109 (1): 52–8. doi:10.1097/01.NAJ.0000344039.11651.08. PMID 19112267.
  5. ^ McNamara, S (2012). "Incivility in nursing: Unsafe nurse, unsafe patients". AORN Journal. 95 (4): 535–540. doi:10.1016/j.aorn.2012.01.020. PMID 22464626.
  6. ^ Lewis, Malcolm A. (2006). "Nurse bullying: Organizational considerations in the maintenance and perpetration of health care bullying cultures" (PDF). Journal of Nursing Management. 14 (1): 52–8. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2934.2005.00535.x. PMID 16359446. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 July 2011.
  7. ^ Spence Laschinger, Heather K.; Leiter, Michael; Day, Arla; Gilin, Debra (2009). "Workplace empowerment, incivility, and burnout: impact on staff nurse recruitment and retention outcomes". Journal of Nursing Management. 17 (3): 302–11. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2834.2009.00999.x. PMID 19426367.
  8. ^ Klass, Perri (27 February 2017). "What Happens When Parents Are Rude in the Hospital". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  9. ^ Riskin, Arieh; Erez, Amir; Foulk, Trevor A.; Riskin-Geuz, Kinneret S.; Ziv, Amitai; Sela, Rina; Pessach-Gelblum, Liat; Bamberger, Peter A. (1 February 2017). "Rudeness and Medical Team Performance". Pediatrics. 139 (2): e20162305. doi:10.1542/peds.2016-2305. ISSN 1098-4275. PMID 28073958.
  10. ^ NHS nurses 'bullied by managers' BBC News 11 October 2003
  11. ^ Peters, Anya Bostian (2014). "Faculty to faculty incivility: Experiences of novice nurse faculty in academia". Journal of Professional Nursing. 30 (3): 213–27. doi:10.1016/j.profnurs.2013.09.007. PMID 24939331.
  12. ^ Roy, Josie. "Horizontal Violence". ADVANCE for Nurses. Retrieved 5 October 2011.
  13. ^ Trossman, S (2008). "Behaving badly? Joint Commission issues alert aimed at improving workplace culture, patient care". The American Nurse. 40 (5): 1, 6, 12. PMID 19024048.
  14. ^ Martin, William (2008). "Is Your Hospital Safe? Disruptive Behavior and Workplace Bullying" (PDF). Hospital Topics. 86 (3): 21–8. doi:10.3200/HTPS.86.3.21-28. PMID 18694856. S2CID 207621553. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 March 2012.
  15. ^ Nurse Work Injury Compensation Eoin Campbell Injury Compensation Zone
  16. ^ Kerfoot, KM (2008). "Leadership, civility, and the 'no jerks' rule". Medsurg Nursing. 17 (6): 441–2. PMID 19248414.

Further reading


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Academic papers