UBC Graduate Research

Newly graduated nurses' educational readiness for workplace violence Camacho, Sarah


Workplace violence (WPV) has been a persistent problem in nursing workplaces, one that has serious consequences for new graduate nurses (NG). WPV, in its various forms, diminishes the quality of all nurses’ work lives, and creates recruitment and retention problems for health care organizations. The readiness of NGs to deal with this problem is an important consideration for nursing educators and leaders. Over the past two decades, substantial attention from nurses, nursing professional organizations, and organizational leaders has focused on the challenges of WPV. Most of that attention has addressed the interpersonal relationships that are assumed to be the source of the problem, and most nursing education and leadership literature has addressed the problem from this perspective. Far less attention has been directed toward the role of organizational dynamics and their contribution to workplace violence. This scholarly practice advancement research project (SPAR) is an integrative review of current literature addressing NGs readiness for WPV, with a focus on literature addressing the issue of WPV from an organizational perspective. The primary aim guiding this review was to examine the readiness NGs experience for actual and potential workplace violence. The review also sought to explore and analyze literature addressing the contextual and relational aspects contributing to workplace violence. Despite the limited research available on this topic, this review illuminates key organizational dynamics about the context where WPV takes place and highlights what is known about the readiness of NG’s for actual and potential WPV. Eight articles were selected and reviewed, as guided by the main research questions. The findings of this review revealed that NGs did not perceive themselves to be ready to manage the power dynamics occurring in the workplace. NGs voiced that lack of support and respect and mistreatment from colleagues came as surprises upon entry into the profession. This gap between nurses’ preparation and their 3 experience was found to have consequences for NGs in terms of their confidence and overall capacity to learn and practice optimally, for the organization and efforts to retain good nurses, and ultimately, for patients’ and the quality of nursing care. The literature explored in this SPAR integrative review also identified organizational factors that precipitate and perpetuate WPV, such as workplace environment, misuse of organizational procedures and processes and informal subgroup alliances who help maintain the status quo. The literature also exposed how surveillance and indoctrination have their roots in institutional power relations and have vital consequences for nursing work and potentially, for the health and safety of patients. Recommendations focus on proposing changes to nursing education curriculum, educating nurses about power in organizations and assisting NGs to develop skills that help them in shifting organizational cultures. This SPAR integrative review recommends that leaders in health care organizations make WPV behaviours more visible and be at the forefront of shifting the power dynamics within organizations so no forms of WPV are accepted.

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