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Communication and the Healthy Work Environment: Nurse Managers’ Perceptions

Hartung, Sheila Q. PhD, RN; Miller, Mindi PhD, RN, CRRN

Journal of Nursing Administration: May 2013 - Volume 43 - Issue 5 - p 266–273
doi: 10.1097/NNA.0b013e31828eeb3c

OBJECTIVE: A qualitative design was used to decipher the viewpoints of nurse managers about communication trends associated with their leadership roles and unit subcultures.

BACKGROUND: Disruptive behaviors such as poor communication and inadequate teamwork have been associated with patient harm and deficient workplace cultures. However, few studies have focused on nurse managers’ perceptions of communication and a healthy workplace.

METHODS: A descriptive qualitative study was conducted using 12 in-depth interviews of 6 nurse managers to better understand communication patterns of managers. Analysis identified 5 themes and 13 subthemes.

RESULTS: Workplace processes were identified that either promoted or hindered managers’ abilities to set a positive tone and to stay connected to their staff, ensuring effective communication while meeting multiple unit and institutional challenges.

CONCLUSIONS: Findings can be used to strengthen communication practices, obviate communication disconnects, and ensure a healthy workplace.

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Author Affiliations: Assistant Professor (Dr Hartung) and Associate Professor (Dr Miller), Department of Nursing, Bloomsburg University, Pennsylvania.

This study was funded by a grant received by the Administrative Committee for Research, Geisinger Medical Center, Danville, Pennsylvania (clinical research grant SRC-042).

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Correspondence: Dr Hartung, Department of Nursing, Bloomsburg University, 400 E 2nd St, Bloomsburg, PA 17815 (

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