The impact of workplace incivility and occupational stress on the job satisfaction and turnover intention of acute care nurses

Date of Completion

January 2006


Health Sciences, Nursing




Due to the nursing shortage, nurse leaders are focused on creating positive work environments that promote the recruitment and retention of nurses. Studies have shown that verbal abuse and disruptive behaviors are a frequent occurrence in today's healthcare environment. The focus of this study is workplace incivility (WI) defined as "low-intensity deviant behavior with ambiguous intent to harm the target, in violation of workplace norms for mutual respect" (Andersson & Pearson, 1999, p. 457). The purpose of this quantitative study is to measure the impact of workplace incivility and occupational stress on the job satisfaction and turnover intention of acute care nurses. The impact of psychosocial factors, work-family conflict, family-work conflict, perceived organizational support and perceived supervisor support were also investigated. ^ The 960 registered nurses surveyed were selected via a systematic sampling method from the Connecticut Board of Nurse Examiners list of 37,500 licensed nurses. The survey instrument consisted of statistically valid and reliable instruments for all study variables, as well as a demographic information sheet developed by the researcher. Descriptive statistics were performed and a correlation matrix calculated to identify and measure the relationships among the variables. Statistically significant correlations were entered into stepwise linear regressions. ^ The study findings indicate that acute care nurses are experiencing occupational stress as a result of workplace incivility, work-family conflict or their intention to leave their present position. Their job satisfaction is decreased by their intention to leave their present position as well as their work-family conflict. ^ The findings of this study have significant implications for nursing practice, education and research. Hospital policies must be developed to create an environment for nurses to address workplace incivility in a direct and professional manner. Nurse leaders must be educated about the incidence and outcomes of workplace incivility. The identification of interventions that reduce the likelihood of workplace incivility and its impact on nurse job satisfaction and patient outcomes may prove invaluable to the recruitment and retention of nurses and the delivery of quality patient care. ^