Associations among the nursing work environment, nurse-reported workplace bullying, and patient outcomes

Academic Article


  • Background: Bullying may undermine patient safety in healthcare organizations threatening quality improvement and patient outcomes. Purpose: To explore the associations between the nursing work environment, nurse-reported workplace bullying, and patient outcomes. Method: Cross-sectional analysis of nurse survey data (N = 943). The Practice Environment Scale of the nursing work index was used to measure the work environment, nurse-reported bullying was measured with the short negative acts questionnaire, and single items measured care quality and patient safety grade. Random effects logistic regressions were used to determine associations controlling for individual, employment, and organizational factors. Findings: Fourty percent of nurses reported experiencing bullying. A higher work environment composite score was significantly associated with a lower risk of bullying (OR = 0.16 [0.12, 0.22], p <.0001). Nurses experiencing bullying were less likely to report good/excellent quality of care (OR = 0.28 [0.18, 0.44], p <.0001) or a favorable patient safety grade (OR = 0.36 [0.25, 0.51], p <.0001). Discussion: The nursing work environment influences the presence of bullying, which can negatively impact patient outcomes. Improving nurse work environments is one mechanism to better address nurse bullying.
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    Author List

  • Pogue CA; Li P; Swiger P; Gillespie G; Ivankova N; Patrician PA