Psychosocial bullying in the workplace: exploring coping and intent to leave among nurse educators in the northeastern United States
Psychosocial bullying has been identified as a contributing factor affecting the retention of qualified nurse educators (Beckmann, Cannella, & Wantland, 2013). While research on bullying has grown exponentially in the past 2 decades, there are limited studies exploring negative acts in the workplace among nurse educators. The purpose of this study was to examine the incidence of negative acts among nurse educators and explore potential relationships between workplace bullying, professional demographics, coping strategies, and intent to leave. Bronfenbrenner’s (2005) Bioecological Systems theory served as the framework for this cross-sectional, correlational study. Data were collected from a final sample of 470 nurse educators from nine northeastern states in the US, using a web-based survey. The instrument included a demographic section, followed by the Negative Acts Questionnaire-Revised (NAQ-R), the Coping Strategy Indicator (CSI), and a three-item job intent turn over questionnaire. The results from this study found that 45% of participants self-identified as targets of bullying in the workplace within the past six months. The most frequently reported negative acts encountered among the nurse educators surveyed were person-related and work-related, respectively, with physically intimidating behaviors being the least common. Furthermore, statistically significant relationships between coping strategies (r = .53) and intent to leave (r = .58) with workplace bullying among nurse educators were identified. The findings from this study contribute to the limited body of knowledge regarding workplace bullying, specifically among nurse educators. Practical implications exist for targets, bystanders, organizations, and the profession. Heightened awareness of this phenomenon is needed. In addition, diverse educational programs and initiatives targeting the multiple levels of influence involved in workplace bullying among nurse educators are required. This may ultimately lead to the increased retention of qualified nurse educators, thereby addressing the shortage of nurses at the bedside.