Novice Nurse Productivity Following Workplace Bullying


Correspondence Peggy Berry, College of Nursing, University of Cincinnati, P.O. Box 21–0038, Cincinnati, OH 45221–0038. E-mail:


Purpose: To determine the prevalence and effects of workplace bullying (WPB) on the work productivity of novice nurses (NNs).

Design: Internet-based descriptive cross-sectional survey design.

Methods: One hundred ninety seven NNs (91.4% female, 8.6% male) in practice less than 2 years completed the Healthcare Productivity Survey, Negative Acts Questionnaire, and a demographic survey.

Findings: The majority (72.6%, n= 147) of NNs reported a WPB event within the previous month, with 57.9% (n= 114) the direct targets and another 14.7% (n= 29) witnesses of WPB behaviors. Using a weighted Negative Acts Questionnaire score, 21.3% (n= 43) of NNs were bullied daily over a 6-month period. When asked if bullied over the past 6 months, approximately 44.7% (n= 88) of NNs reported repeated, targeted WPB, with 55.3% (n= 109) reporting no WPB. WPB acts were primarily perpetrated by more experienced nursing colleagues (63%, n= 126). Further, work productivity regression modeling was significant and NN productivity was negatively impacted by workplace bullying (r=−.322, p= .045).

Conclusions: WPB continues in the healthcare environment and negatively affects bullied NNs’ productivity by affecting cognitive demands and ability to handle or manage their workload.

Clinical Relevance: Healthcare facilities should continue to measure WPB in the work environment after policy implementation as well as eliminate negative behaviors through root-cause analysis to correct environmental factors associated with WPB.

Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 2011; XX:X, XXX–XXX. ©2011 Sigma Theta Tau International.