The influence of empowerment and incivility on the mental health of new graduate nurses

Authors

  • Travis Wing RN, MScN,

    Manager, Medical/Surgical Inpatients
    1. Brockville General Hospital, Ontario, Canada
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  • Sandra Regan RN, PhD,

    Assistant Professor
    1. Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada
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  • Heather K. Spence Laschinger RN, PhD, FAAN

    Distinguished University Professor and Arthur Labatt Family Nursing Research Chair in Human Resource Optimization, Corresponding author
    1. Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada
    • Correspondence

      Heather K. Spence Laschinger

      The University of Western

      Ontario

      Health Sciences Addition, Room H41

      1151 Richmond Street

      London

      Ontario

      N6A 5C1

      Canada

      E-mail: hkl@uwo.ca

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Abstract

Aim

To test a model based on Kanter's theory of structural empowerment, which examines the relationships between new graduate nurses' perceptions of structural empowerment, workplace incivility and mental health symptoms.

Background

The initial years of practice can be particularly stressful for new graduate nurses, who may be particularly vulnerable to uncivil behaviour as a result of their status in the work environment. Disempowerment and incivility in the workplace may compound the mental health symptoms experienced by new graduate nurses.

Method

A predictive, non-experimental design was used to examine the relationship between structural empowerment, workplace incivility and mental health symptoms in a sample of new graduate nurses working in hospital settings in Ontario (n = 394).

Result

High levels of structural empowerment were significantly associated with fewer negative mental health symptoms in new graduates. However, co-worker incivility and supervisor incivility partially mediated the effect of structural empowerment on new graduate nurses' mental health symptoms.

Conclusion

The findings suggest that empowering workplaces contribute to lower mental health symptoms in new graduate nurses, an effect that is diminished by incivility.

Implications for nursing management

Strategies that foster empowering work conditions and reduce uncivil behaviour are needed to promote positive mental health in new graduate nurses.

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