Working in healthcare can be extremely stressful when it comes to patient care, poor outcomes, and traumatic events. On top of this, stress can be exacerbated by incivility, bullying, and workplace violence (Marshall & Broome, 2017). According to Clark et al. (2011), “Incivility in healthcare can lead to unsafe working conditions, poor patient care, and increased medical costs.” Completing the Clark Healthy Workplace Inventory gave me some more insight into the civility of my workplace (2015).
Based on The Clark Healthy Workplace Inventory, my organization scored a 73. Clark explains that a 73 is associated with a moderately healthy workplace. I would agree my workplace deserves this score, and the description is fitting. My lower scores reflected my “neutral” score in statements that described how management views employees. Marshall and Broome note, incivility can take on many forms, from condescending remarks to refusal to acknowledge a coworker’s need for assistance and can occur between nurses or those in leadership positions (2017, p. 108). For me, the incivility in the work environment often stems from opposition between management and staff. It seems that management does not always value staff nurses. For this reason, the statement, “Employees are viewed as assets and valued partners within the organization,” stuck out to me. It can sometimes seem that nurses are not in control of decisions being made that affect nurses.
Most recently, an event occurred at my workplace that rubbed many staff nurses the wrong way. I work in the emergency department, where we have recently had a massive influx of COVID-19 patients. We have separated our department into a respiratory and medical side. As you can imagine, we screen every patient that enters the department. If they have any respiratory symptoms, they go to the department’s respiratory side and are considered a rule out COVID until otherwise stated by the physician. If they are diagnosed with COVID and need to be admitted, they are admitted to the hospital’s COVID floor. Recently, an email was leaked that stated the nurses on the COVID floor were receiving extra compensation. In contrast, our nurses who were taking care of the same patients who were being admitted were not receiving the additional payment.
From our standpoint, it was extremely frustrating that this information was kept from us, and it made us feel extremely undervalued. It was discouraging to feel our organization was not being transparent, and we were not treated fairly. To address this situation, one of our staff nurses voiced her concerns to our leadership in the emergency department, the emergency department’s administrative director. He was also kept from this knowledge, so he scheduled a meeting with his direct report. From here, the administrators compromised on allowing emergency department nurses to float up to the COVID floor for extra shifts to receive the additional compensation.
While it was not the answer we wanted, it was nice that our administrative director of the emergency department tried to make something happen. It did give me a poor impression of our administrators who are in charge of making these decisions, who neglected to include any representatives from the ER. I do not feel these individuals view me or any other emergency department staff nurses as assets or valued partners with the organization. I think this type of leadership creates more incivility in the workplace.