Nursing Publications


New Graduate Nurses’ Experiences of Bullying and Burnout in Hospital Settings

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Journal of Advanced Nursing





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Aim.  This paper is a report of a study conducted to test a model linking new graduate nurses’ perceptions of structural empowerment to their experiences of workplace bullying and burnout in Canadian hospital work settings using Kanter’s work empowerment theory.

Background.  There are numerous anecdotal reports of bullying of new graduates in healthcare settings, which is linked to serious health effects and negative organizational effects.

Methods.  We tested the model using data from the first wave of a 2009 longitudinal study of 415 newly graduated nurses (<3 years of experience) in acute care hospitals across Ontario, Canada. Variables were measured using the Conditions of Work Effectiveness Questionnaire, Negative Acts Questionnaire-Revised and Maslach Burnout Inventory-General Survey.

Results.  The final model fit statistics revealed a reasonably adequate fit (χ² = 14·9, d.f. = 37, IFI = 0·98, CFI = 0·98, RMSEA = 0·09). Structural empowerment was statistically significantly and negatively related to workplace bullying exposure (β = −0·37), which in turn, was statistically significantly related to all three components of burnout (Emotional exhaustion: β = 0·41, Cynicism: β = 0·28, Efficacy: β = −0·17). Emotional exhaustion had a direct effect on cynicism (β = 0·51), which in turn, had a direct effect on efficacy (β = −0·34).

Conclusion.  The results suggest that new graduate nurses’ exposure to bullying may be less when their work environments provide access to empowering work structures, and that these conditions promote nurses’ health and wellbeing.

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