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Hospital RNs' Experiences With Disruptive Behavior: A Qualitative Study

Walrath, Jo M. PhD, RN; Dang, Deborah PhD, RN, NEA-BC; Nyberg, Dorothy MS, RN

doi: 10.1097/NCQ.0b013e3181c7b58e

Disruptive behavior in healthcare has been identified as a threat to quality of care, nurse retention, and a culture of safety. A qualitative study elicited registered nurse experiences with disruptive clinician behavior in an acute care hospital. A conceptual framework was developed to provide a structure for organizing and describing this complex construct that includes 4 primary concepts: disruptive behaviors and its triggers, responses, and impacts.

Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing (Dr Walrath) and Department of Nursing, Johns Hopkins Hospital (Dr Dang and Ms Nyberg), Baltimore, Maryland.

Corresponding Author: Dorothy Nyberg, MS, RN, Department of Nursing, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Billings Administration 220, 600 N Wolfe St, Baltimore, MD 21218 (

The study was funded by a State of Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission Nurse Support Program I Grant. The authors thank Michael Heitt, PsyD, focus group facilitator, for his contributions to this study.

Accepted for publication: October 24, 2009

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.