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A Phenomenological Study of Nurse Manager Interventions Related to Workplace Bullying

Skarbek, Anita J. PhD, RN; Johnson, Sandra PhD, MEd, MA, MSW, CASAC; Dawson, Christina M. EdD

JONA: The Journal of Nursing Administration: October 2015 - Volume 45 - Issue 10 - p 492–497
doi: 10.1097/NNA.0000000000000240

Objective: The aim of this study was to acquire nurse managers’ perspectives as to the scope of workplace bullying, which interventions were deemed as effective and ineffective, and what environmental characteristics cultivated a healthy, caring work environment.

Background: Research has linked workplace bullying among RNs to medical errors, unsafe hospital environments, and negative patient outcomes. Limited research had been conducted with nurse managers to discern their perspectives.

Methods: Six nurse managers from hospital settings participated in in-depth, semistructured interviews. Ray’s theory of bureaucratic caring guided the study.

Results: These themes emerged: (a) awareness, (b) scope of the problem, (c) quality of performance, and (d) healthy, caring environment. Findings indicated mandated antibullying programs were not as effective as individual manager interventions.

Conclusions: Systems must be in place to hold individuals accountable for their behavior. Communication, collective support, and teamwork are essential to create environments that lead to the delivery of safe, optimum patient care.

Author Affiliations: Clinical Assistant Professor (Dr Skarbek), School of Nursing & Health Studies, University of Missouri–Kansas City; Associate Professor (Dr Johnson), SUNY Empire State College, Olean, New York; and Contributing Faculty (Dr Dawson), Doctoral Programs, Walden University, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Correspondence: Dr Skarbek, School of Nursing & Health Studies, University of Missouri–Kansas City, 2464 Charlotte St, Kansas City, MO 64108 (

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.