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Incivility in Nursing: Causes, Impacts and Interventions

Info: 1386 words (6 pages) Nursing Essay
Published: 17th Jun 2020

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Incivility in Nursing

While nursing is a profession, which is dedicated to helping other, the highly charged nature of a lot of environments in which nurses work can lead to situations that are not healthy. Incivility is one of the many serious nursing issues. Incivility is one or more rude or disrespectful action that usually has a negative intend behind them. ANA defines bullying as “repeated, unwanted, harmful actions intended to humiliate, offend, and cause distress in the recipient.” The importance of incivility in nursing will be elaborated, We will talk about the strategies that can be used to create a healthy environment at a workplace.

Issues of Incivility

Incivility is an act of rudeness, although incivility is present at any work environment, it is more seen and is very common in a nursing field. This issue has been going on through ages, even when we a re nursing school we have a session that we are educated on and it’s about nurses eating their young, which is just more experienced nurses being rude to the new nurses just because they had been through that issue when they first started their job. I believe that It’s a very unsafe behavior and is not needed at all as it puts our patients at a great safety risk. Our profession is about teamwork, collaborating with one and another, we are supposed to have a great communication between the staff. It’s extremely sad that because of these issues we are putting our patients at a safety risk because if we are not great team workers it will not only affect us but patients will suffer immensely as well. According to a 2012 study by Longo, older nurses suffer greater physical effects of bullying, including headaches, cardiovascular disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, and musculoskeletal problems.

Importance to Nursing

Incivility  anywhere is just unhealthy and uncalled for, it creates  a very negative environment and it shouldn’t be there when the whole field is about being a team worker and a professional. The whole healthcare system is based on teamwork and if we have people who are not getting along and are bullying each other then it will not just affect us, it will affect our care as well. Incivility can cause a person to go through emotional struggle and actually be scared to come to work and face the same environment all over again.  The hostile environment can make it hard for health worker to stay at their job and can cause a lot of turnovers, which leads to nurses leaving the job. In 2010, The Joint Commission (TJC) implemented new standards to require healthcare organizations to have mechanisms in place to deal with incivility, and the AACN developed standards for a healthy work environment. But despite these initiatives, incivility in healthcare has remained a persistent problem.


There can actually be a book written on the stories of incivility at a nurse’s job place. I mean we work with different types of people, not everyone is same and they don’t think the same as you might think. When we work with different personalities we tend to collide on many things, which can be one’s views or jus plain, their own opinions about a subject. We have a nurse on our floor that is best friends with some nurses on the floor and does not talk to anyone else, she just wants to talk to her friends and doesn’t help out anyone around her when she isn’t busy.  When everyone comes new to the unit she has discouraged people by saying that they are too dumb for this job or just humiliated them in some other manner. When I came to the unit of course she didn’t acknowledge or talk to me either but since I love having a team I tried to talk to her and would say hi sometimes but she wouldn’t answer back and didn’t acknowledge me. I felt really bad and disrespected but everyone on the unit said the same thing about her that she doesn’t help and  is very disrespectful to people. There is this thing that we do at our job which is to help each other whenever we get a new patient so that we can help one another by settling things so that it’s easier and generally we go around and help each other turning patients and whatever one may need help with. I noticed that everyone would help her but she didn’t go into anyone’s room to help him or her, she would just sit there and not do anything. I think it would be so nice if she actually gave her co-workers a hand and did something to help them.

Creating a Healthful Environment

I believe that reversing this behavior is not going to be that difficult, the key is to start with yourself and be very responsible of your behavior. When people see a person who is always helping their co workers and is always proactive they will think of you as a role model and try to return the favor and this will also open more communication opportunities.  We have a zero tolerance behavior at our work regarding violence but I think we need to create a zero tolerance incivility work environment as well. We may need to start with education and specially setting up boundaries, and identify acceptable behavior and actually taking an action against the offender and holding them accountable, it’s all about accountability for one’s own action( Dr. Miller, 2016)

Practice Application

My specialty track is FNP and since this position will hold accountability, it will come with it’s own stresses, and this same stress can lead to an unhealthy working environment. It’s very important to be a great role model in this position because this will encourage good and healthy behavior at work.  Being a role model at the job is an affective way to spread good behavior. As a leader It’s very important to encourage your team members to provide the best care possible to the patients, and help them in doing so as this behavior will encourage them in being a team member and helping other staff members and this will result in better patient care and a healthier environment. In 2015, the American Nurses Association released the position statement “Incivility, Bullying, and Workplace Violence,” which states, “All registered nurses and employers in all settings, including practice, academia, and research must collaborate to create a culture of respect, free of incivility, bullying, and workplace violence.”( ANA,2015)


As the act of incivility is common and is very disrespectful behavior and as it has a very negative effect not just the workers but also the healthcare system. All I know is that I will try my best to stay away from any negative behavior at workplace and try to help my co workers as much as I can because I don’t want an unhealthy environment and It’s just a lot easier to work in a healthy environment because that is safe and it provides safe care to the patients and people actually enjoy coming to work whereas if they have an unhealthy environment to come to they most likely won’t.



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