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    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.


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    • Anonymous
      I have read this article several times and can't help but come back and read it again. I strongly believe that there is a flip side of this story. Speaking as a working Registered Nurse in the hospital setting for 38 years, I have experienced the disrespect of younger nurses. I have also witnessed this same treatment towards many older nurses. I believe there is more to their (new nurses) unhappiness than abuse from co workers. They soon find out that nursing is not as it is glamorized on TV and that it takes a caring,empathetic and understanding nature to be good at nursing. This often comes with life experiences as well as years of nursing experience. Not everything is learned in a book. I do also believe that nursing is getting more stressful everyday and schools should be obligated to prepare young nurses for "the real world" of nursing and caring for the sick. I hope that the researchers that did this survey go back and give a flip side survey of older nurses.
    • Anonymous
      Why can't all nurses just grow up. Throw your competitive ways out the window! Work could be so much more pleasant if we would just treat each other as we would like to be treated, and quit the gossiping. I'm back to being a travel nurse. Being full time is like wearing a sign "abuse me, please"!
    • Anonymous
      You surely have said it right. I am back to traveling also....and your comment on "wearing a sign abuse me please" is very (although sad) true.
    • Ms. KPurdy
      I have seen this and experienced it, actually just recently and I am not a new nurse. When are interventions going to be taken to get rid of the bad apples that end up making a team weak due to their own insecurities and inability to support others. I am the one who ended up out just because I was the new one to the facility (nurse for 16 years with excellent experience). It is the abusers who need to go, there is no place for it when you are dealing with peoples lives.