Online Program

An Exploratory Study of Workplace Victimization in Nursing

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Stacey Lamar, DrPH, LM, CNM, Saratoga Hospital, Saratoga Midwifery and Women's Primary Care, Saratoga, NY
Deborah Viola, PhD, Center for Regional Healthcare Innovation, Westchester Medical Center
Kenneth Knapp, PhD, NYMC, Valhalla, NY
Sexual harassment and bullying are pervasive social problems more prevalent in female dominated professions. Half of female nurses disclose exposure to workplace victimization, and approximately one third of male nurses report the same. This suggests that two million nurses currently in the workforce have experienced workplace victimization.

This exploratory study investigated workplace victimization within the U.S. nursing profession. To date, the literature has not advanced our understanding enough as to prevalence of victimization, propensity of under-reporting and the time it takes to identify being victimized. 

After a comprehensive literature review, three research goals were developed which provided study direction. Survey data was collected via phone interview for a sample of registered nurses. Likert scale questions investigated demographics, victimization experiences, and reporting. Open-ended questions provided details. Structured exploration was completed through triangulation of data.

This study reveals gender and work authority play a role in victimization. The time it takes to identify victimization is too long for more than half of the victims. This result has not been previously considered. The decision to report is challenged by concerns of retaliation by superiors. Most victims that did report experienced a negative outcome. The majority experience emotional and physical symptoms.

Effective change requires education within the academic setting and the organization. Workshops should maintain a dual purpose of collecting data within the organization and educating employees. Future research considerations should focus on the time it takes for the victim to identify workplace victimization and the rise in bullying of nurses by female leaders.

Learning Areas:

Administration, management, leadership
Occupational health and safety
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Identify the 2 variables this study revealed that may contribute to under-reporting of workplace victimization. Define workplace sexual harassment and bullying as per federal law as demonstrated by post-test. List 2 reasons why nurse victims in this study stated they did not report victimization to their employer.

Keyword(s): Nurses/Nursing, Workplace

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the primary author of this research.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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