New nurses who face verbal abuse are unhappy, study says
Nurses (RNs) who reported being verbally abused by nursing colleagues suffer lower job satisfaction, unfavorable perceptions of their work environment, and greater intent to leave their job, according to new study.
The report, Verbal Abuse from Nurse Colleagues and Work Environment of Early Career Registered Nurses, was conducted as part of the RN Work Project, a program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Researchers surveyed 1,407 newly licensed RNs about how often they were verbally abused by nurse colleagues: never (designated as a low level of abuse); one to five times in the last three months (moderate); or more than five times in the last three months (high).
Results indicated that 49 percent of respondents had experienced some verbal abuse and five percent of respondents had experienced abuse more than five times in the past three months. Being spoken to in a condescending manner and being ignored were the most frequently reported types of abuse in the study.
"The verbal abuse we found to be most common is best characterized as passive-aggressive," said Wendy Budin, RN-BC, PhD, FAAN, a study investigator and adjunct professor at the New York University College of Nursing in a prepared statement. "Rather than yelling, swearing, insulting, or humiliating behavior, most early career RNs report that the abuse they experienced involved condescension or lack of acknowledgement. This kind of subtle abuse is less likely to be reported and more likely to be overlooked as a problem, which makes it all the more insidious and all the more important that hospital administrators work to confront and prevent it."
The study also indicated that nurses working in Magnet hospitals and intensive care units were the least likely to report high levels of verbal abuse.