Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy




Andrusyszyn, Mary-Anne


Background: Nursing students are experiencing workplace bullying during clinical placements. Such experiences contribute to a loss of trust and decrease in communication, ultimately affecting patient care. This has resulted in nursing students contemplating leaving the profession. If projections are accurate, Canada will be short 60,000 nurses by the year 2022. With the current nursing shortage crisis and an aging workforce, it is cause for concern when future nurses report intentions to leave the profession.

Purpose:The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of preceptors’ authentic leadership on fourth-year nursing students’ experience of workplace bullying and withdrawal intentions during a final preceptorship. A non-experimental, descriptive, correlational survey research design was used to examine the relationship between major study variables. It was hypothesized that increased authentic leadership of preceptors would increase nursing students’ psychological capital, decrease workplace bullying from preceptors and nurses, increase their professional commitment and decrease withdrawal intentions. Based on the Avolio et al. (2004) theory of authentic leadership and Einersen’s (2009) theory of workplace bullying, the hypothesized model was tested on a sample of n= 306 fourth-year nursing students from five Southern Ontario universities.

Results: Data were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics, as well as, observed variable path analysis. While the initial model demonstrated a poor fit with the observed variables (χ2(df)= 271.80 (9), p < .001, RMSEA = .31 [.28 - .34], GFI = .78, NFI = .38, CFI = .38), the final model (χ2(df)= 13.03 (5), p = .02, RMSEA = .07 [.03, .12], GFI = .99, NFI = .97, CFI = .98) revealed authentic leadership influenced nursing students’ withdrawal intentions through two separate pathways. First, increased authentic leadership was related to a decrease in nursing students’ experience of workplace bullying from preceptors and nurses, which decreased their intentions to withdrawal from the nursing profession; and second, increased authentic leadership had a positive effect on nursing students’ psychological capital, which positively influenced their professional commitment and negatively influenced their withdrawal intentions.

Conclusion: Study findings contribute to new nursing knowledge by identifying a link between authentic leadership of preceptors and nursing students’ experience of workplace bullying from preceptors and nurses, and intentions to withdrawal from the nursing profession.

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Nursing Commons