Incivility is the behavior of ignoring and being contemptuous at others creating an atmosphere filled with rivalry, stress, and disrespect (Smith, Carpenter & Fitzpatrick, 2015). Nursing incivility has gained great interest to many researchers due to its emerging challenge in the field of education and working environment posing a severe impact on the vulnerable population. These uncivil behaviors among learning institutions and health centers have been seen to disrupt progress not only to nursing students, professional practitioners, hospitals but also to patients’ health. This study, therefore, intends to recognize and address the effects of nursing incivility on nursing education and workplace surroundings.
Effects of Incivility on Nursing Education and Workplace Environment
Historically, the term ‘nurse ‘calls for respect, kindness, and honesty (Clark & Sigma Theta Tau International, 2013). However, in recent years incivility in nursing education and to peers has garnered much growth which consequentially has resulted in physiological and psychological distress. In return, this issue has led to various implications for patients, nurses and health care organizations. These unethical actions used by nurses include bullying which refers to abuse of power, insulting behaviors, repeated abuse, and intimidation; or unfair deeds that make recipients feel humiliated and endangered thereby causing distress and little self-confidence. Other vices include sabotage, innuendo, confidence breakage, withholding information, in fights, disrespecting one’s privacy and verbal affronts.
Incivility in nursing schools and the clinical setting exist in the form of learners bullying each other, faculty members bullying other teachers and students bullying teachers and vice-versa. Although incivility is experienced in most professionals, the difficulty seems eminent in the clinical nursing setting. Over the years research investigating workplace incivility provided an estimate that prevalence extents are between seventy-five and one hundred percent. This means that all employees to a certain degree have experienced some level of incivility from their colleagues, peers or patients. In a survey conducted it was found that more than 4,000 critical care nurses that are 18%, experienced verbal abuse from their co-workers (Smith, Carpenter & Fitzpatrick, 2015). Approximately 25% rated the quality of collaboration among registered nurses as fair or poor while 22% rated respect for other clinicians as fair or poor (Smith, Carpenter & Fitzpatrick, 2015).
According to totally 70% of nurses who were victimized in the process left their jobs, ironically, a third of those with health difficulties left their jobs due to those problems. Roughly 60% of the new rated nurses resigned in half a year of being insulted and a third fresh of graduates’ nurses considered quitting from their workplaces altogether due to humiliation and offensive encounters. Clark & Sigma Theta Tau International (2013) shows that the victims tend to react against one another since they are not capable of handling their situations. Their frustrations limit their speech and ability to express their feelings and grievances lowering their self-esteem hence causing chaos and inadequacy of teamwork support. Most oppressive conditions, for example, limited staffing ratios; administrative hierarchies have promoted minimum recognition, inadequate supplies and denial of uninterrupted breaks by nurses.
This toxic work atmosphere makes victims feel invisible, inferior, incompetent and isolated from the other teams eventually subjecting them to psychological and occupational imperialism. Research on bullied clinicians in the United States revealed that workplace incivility accounts for a third to one-half of stress-related absenteeism. In Canada, one in seven deaths results from workplace bullying (Smith, Carpenter & Fitzpatrick, 2015). Uncivil behaviors have eroded work contentment and morale, in turn, lowering productivity and quality, increasing absenteeism and promoting high staff turnover. With the high cost of hiring and orienting new protectionists’, losing nurses within the first working term creates an enormous financial burden on the organization. Low job satisfaction also reduces patients’ contentment thus affecting reimbursement and patients’ attempt to recommend the institution (Clark & Sigma Theta Tau International, 2013). It is also evident that these unethical acts pose a threat to patient safety by interfering with communication, teamwork, and cooperation. These victims tend to be reluctant to ask questions and to speak up to advocate for patients; endangering patients’ safety and outcome by ignoring to offer assistance needed paving the way for fatal health errors to occur. The high turnover of nurses caused jeopardizes progression on the unit denying fresh nurses experience and knowledge to detect and respond quickly to potential patient problems.
In summary, nursing incivility can be viewed as a detrimental rational problem in health institutions whose growth has successfully achieved creating a therapy and treatment gap. To safeguard quality performance and patients outcome advocacy is required for problem-solving skills, influence, communication, and collaboration.
Incivility has been a major challenge for most healthcare organizations all over the globe showing that these issued have not been adhered to .to curb this behavior clinical teachers who initially introduce this vice while instilling knowledge of nursing to students should re-evaluate their qualifications and performance and probably be their role models. Health care is changing and the role and practice of the professional nurse demand for policy and collaboration revision so as to reduce the chances of incivility and improve patients’ safety and care. The administrators and peers in medical associations should ensure that the necessary resources for nursing staff are available and distributed equally and efficiently to promote a positive working environment.
Clark, C. M., & Sigma Theta Tau International. (2013). Creating & sustaining civility in nursing education. Indianapolis, IN: Sigma Theta Tau International.
Smith, M. J., Carpenter, R., & Fitzpatrick, J. J. (2015). Encyclopedia of nursing education. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.