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The Impact of Workplace Incivility on the Work Environment, Manager Skill, and Productivity

Lewis, Patricia Smokler PhD, RN, NEA-BC, CNML; Malecha, Ann PhD, RN

Journal of Nursing Administration: January 2011 - Volume 41 - Issue 1 - p 41-47
doi: 10.1097/NNA.0b013e3182002a4c

Objective: The objective of the study was to investigate the impact of workplace incivility (WPI) on staff nurses related to cost and productivity.

Background: Healthful practice environments are one of the goals of the American Organization of Nurse Executives 2010 to 2012 Strategic Plan. Healthy work environments are linked to patient safety and quality.

Methods: A postal survey was sent to 2,160 staff nurses (n = 659 completed) and included the Nursing Incivility Scale and Work Limitation Questionnaire.

Results: Although almost 85% (n = 553) reported experiencing WPI in the past 12 months, nurses working in healthy work environments(defined as Magnet®, Pathway to Excellence, and/or Beacon Unit recognition) reported lower WPI scores compared with nurses working in the standard work environment (P < .001). Workplace incivility scores varied between types of unit. Nurses' perception of their manager's ability to handle WPI was negatively associated with WPI scores (P < .001). Lost productivity as a result of WPI was calculated at $11,581 per nurse per year.

Conclusions: Not only does WPI exist at high rates, but also it is costly. Nursing leaders play a vital role ensuring a healthy work environment.

Supplemental Digital Content is available in the text.

Authors' Affiliations: Nursing Director (Dr Lewis), Methodist Sugar Land Hospital, Sugar Land, Texas; Professor and Research Director (Dr Malecha), Texas Woman's University, Houston, Texas.

Corresponding author: Dr Lewis, Methodist Sugar Land Hospital, 16655 SW Freeway, Sugar Land, TX 77479 (

Partial financial grant funding was received from the following organizations: Houston Organization of Nurse Executives; Sigma Theta Tau Beta Beta Chapter Houston, Texas; Tillie and Tom Small research grant from Texas Woman's University; and the Houston-Gulf Coast Chapter of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal's Web site (

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.