Incivility in Health Care Setting
Reflect on an experience in which you were directly involved or witnessed incivility in the workplace. Provide a brief synopsis of the situation. How did this make you feel? How did you respond? What were the consequences of this situation? Provide an example of how this negatively affected the work environment and outcomes. How could the situation have been prevented? Discuss strategies that would support a healthy work environment.
Workplace incivility is a serious issue in nursing and healthcare in general. More than 80% of nurses experience incivility at least once throughout their profession. Most of the incivility actions are perpetrated by fellow nurses. Workplace incivility refers to repeated disrespectful or rude and offensive behavior toward another with or without the intent to harm (Layne, Anderson & Henderson, 2019). Sometimes the perpetrators are unaware of the impact of their uncivil behavior on the victims. Examples of such acts include gossiping, unfair assignments, blaming, refusing to help, and diminishing decisions. Acts of incivility often leave the victims feeling upset, humiliated, vulnerable, and stressed.
I have experienced and witnessed incivility in many instances during my nursing career. After graduation, in my first appointment as a registered nurse, I worked in a busy healthcare setting, caring for the elderly population. I worked in a multidisciplinary care team and was assigned a physician to collaborate with in patient care. The physician often allocated an excess workload that I was often unable to meet the deadlines. Some tasks were beyond my expertise, and the physician was sometimes unreachable for consultation, especially during night shifts. Due to failure to meet my deadlines or perform the assigned clinical roles adequately, the physician would often reprimand me in the presence of the other care team members and label me as lazy and incompetent.
The experience made me feel humiliated, stressed and it undermined my confidence in performing clinical roles. I became stressed and even contemplated resigning. I had resisted reporting the issue since I assumed the management was already aware of the physician’s behavior as he had worked in the facility for more than 10 years. However, I got very stressed when the situation escalated, which compromised my confidence and trust in other providers I was supposed to collaborate with. I realized this endangered the patient’s safety and quality of care thus decided to report the issue to the hospital management. Contrary to what I had assumed, the issue had not been reported by any other nurse; therefore, the administration was unaware of incivility in the particular work environment.
In response, an ethical committee was formed to investigate the issue, which led to more nurses claiming to have had a similar experience from the particular physician. As a result, the perpetrator was suspended and his practice license suspended. In addition, an ethical committee was formed, and programs to educate nurses on the consequences of incivility were implemented. In addition, nurses were encouraged to take more time management courses and knowledge improvement courses to ensure they remain competitive, thus reducing the risk of uncivil behavior from their leaders and supervisors.
Instances of workplace incivility negatively impact the victims, the patient, the healthcare organization and work environment. The affects the safety and quality of patient care, the organization’s reputation and increases the cost of turnover. Besides, they create a hostile work environment, where collaboration is minimal due to impaired trust. These issues can be prevented by creating a healthy work environment. This can be achieved through various strategies. Healthcare organizations should ensure they have ethical committees to educate employees on incivility and its consequences regularly (Razzi & Bianchi, 2019). The committee should also investigate incivility claims and implement policies regarding the consequences of perpetrating incivility in the workplace.
In addition, employing adequate staff prevents work overload, thus reducing the risk of disrespect. Establishing a safe communication system where nurses can report disrespect without fear of consequences would be essential (Eka & Chambers, 2019). Besides, nurses should be offered regular time management courses and encouraged to engage in continued career development through education and research maintain their competencies.
Eka, N. G. A., & Chambers, D. (2019). Incivility in nursing education: A systematic literature review. Nurse education in practice, 39, 45-54. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nepr.2019.06.004
Layne, D. M., Anderson, E., & Henderson, S. (2019). Examining the presence and sources of incivility within nursing. Journal of Nursing Management, 27(7), 1505-1511. https://doi.org/10.1111/jonm.12836
Razzi, C. C., & Bianchi, A. L. (2019, October). Incivility in nursing: Implementing a quality improvement program utilizing cognitive rehearsal training. In Nursing forum (Vol. 54, No. 4, pp. 526-536). https://doi.org/10.1111/nuf.12366