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Handbook of Stress in the Occupations

Edited by Janice Langan-Fox and Cary Cooper

The Handbook of Stress in the Occupations sets a new agenda for stress research and gives fresh impetus to scholars who wish to focus on issues and problems associated with specific jobs, some of which have received little attention in the past.
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Chapter 1: Incivility and Bullying in the Nursing Workplace

Dianne M. Felblinger


Dianne M. Felblinger Nurses have long been respected by the public, and nurses’ ability to protect and advocate for individuals and groups of patients does not come without workplace stress. There are many stressors nurses encounter throughout the process of acquiring and keeping public trust. One such stressor involves confronting disruptive behaviors such as incivility and bullying within the healthcare system. This chapter will examine the current literature related to disruptive behaviors, incivility and bullying in the workplace. Associated issues and interventions will be discussed and areas of future research defined. DISRUPTIVE BEHAVIORS The past two decades have been marked by increased recognition of negative and disruptive workplace behaviors (Joint Commission, 2008; Lutgen-Sandvik et al., 2007). Disruptive behaviors include inappropriate conduct, confrontation or conflict, and range from verbal abuse to physical and sexual harassment (Rosenstein & O’Daniel, 2005). Examples of disruptive behaviors are criticizing and shaming colleagues in public; threatening other workers with retribution, violence or job loss; throwing objects; employing intimidation tactics; speaking in a condescending tone and using verbally abusive language, sexual comments or racial slurs (Porto & Lauve, 2006; Pfifferling, 2003). Verbal abuse has been described as a common experience among 80–90 percent of healthcare workers (Sofield & Salmond, 2003). In one study, 86 percent of nurses reported witnessing disruptive behavior in physicians and 72 percent reported witnessing disruptive behavior in nurses (Rosenstein & O’Daniel, 2005). When these negative and disruptive behaviors occur in healthcare settings they adversely affect the working conditions of nurses and, subsequently, endanger patients. In a...

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