Incivility, retention and new graduate nurses: an integrated review of the literature




To evaluate the influence of incivility on the new graduate nurse transition experience.


Incivility in the work environment is a major source of dissatisfaction and new graduate nurses are especially vulnerable. Incivility contributes to the high levels of turnover associated within the first 2 years of new graduate nurse employment.


An integrated review of the literature was conducted using MEDLINE-EBSCOhost, PsycInfo and CINAHL databases. Relevant articles were reviewed for appropriateness related to inclusion/exclusion criteria and for quality using established criteria. Sixteen studies were included in the final analysis.

Key issues

Themes that emerged included workplace incivility, nurse residency programmes, mentoring through preceptors and empowerment/work environment. Findings indicated that incivility in the workplace was a significant predictor of low job satisfaction in new graduate nurses transitioning into practice.


While graduate nurse transition programmes are associated with improved satisfaction and retention, they appear to address incivility by acculturating new graduate nurses to the experience of incivility. There is little evidence that the culture of incivility has been addressed.

Implications for nursing management

Nurse managers have the responsibility to be aware of the prevalence of incivility, assess for its occurrence, and implement strategies which eliminate workplace incivility and tolerance for uncivil behaviours.