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Workplace Bullying: Concerns for Nurse Leaders

Johnson, Susan L. MN, RN; Rea, Ruth E. PhD, RN

Journal of Nursing Administration: February 2009 - Volume 39 - Issue 2 - p 84-90
doi: 10.1097/NNA.0b013e318195a5fc

Objective: The aim of this study was to describe nurses' experiences with and characteristics related to workplace bullying.

Background: Although the concept of workplace bullying is gaining attention, few studies have examined workplace bullying among nurses.

Methods: This was a descriptive study using a convenience sample of 249 members of the Washington State Emergency Nurses Association. The Negative Acts Questionnaire-Revised was used to measure workplace bullying.

Results: Of the sample, 27.3% had experienced workplace bullying in the last 6 months. Most respondents who had been bullied stated that they were bullied by their managers/directors or charge nurses. Workplace bullying was significantly associated with intent to leave one's current job and nursing.

Conclusion: In seeking remedies to the problem of workplace bullying, nurse leaders need to focus on why this bullying occurs and on ways to reduce its occurrence. This is a critical issue, since it is linked with nurse attrition.

Authors' Affiliations: Predoctoral Student (Ms Johnson), Nursing Program, University of Washington, Seattle; and Associate Professor (Dr Rea), University of Washington, Nursing Program, Tacoma.

Corresponding author: Ms Johnson, 3209 Lorne St, SE; Olympia, WA 98501 (

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.