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Incivility Within the Healthcare Metaparadigm


Various professions have serious challenges affecting how they operate, one of which is incivility. According to Geldart et al. (2018), incivility within the healthcare metaparadigm is the expression of rudeness, violence, bullying, and any other unacceptable behaviors within the working healthcare environment. Geldart et al. (2018) posit that incivility affects how medics operate and can result in mental and emotional distress. Since incivility is associated with an individual’s behavior, it follows that it can be intentional or unintentional. However, it is not straightforward for one to notice the type of incivility against the other. In addition, there are no appropriate scales or measures, so it is necessary to understand different personalities.

Incivility can be considered on the low-risk and high-risk end, depending on the impacts such acts have on the recipients. According to Brown (2017), low-risk incivility behaviors comprise disturbance and annoyance, such as bullying, rudeness, mockery, sexual and gender harassment, and unfair conduct, which can frustrate another party. On the other hand, high-risk incivility conducts comprise aggression, which can turn violent. These include ethnic and racial conflicts and physical violence. In the healthcare metaparadigm, the nurses’ conduct is related to incivility, causing poor healthcare service delivery. The nurses’ incivility makes them threaten their patients and deliver poor health care satisfaction. This eventually results in their healthcare organization delivering low-quality services, hence losing potential clientele. Therefore, managers and other healthcare facility leaders need to find ways of addressing incivility in medical workplaces to ensure the delivery of better and quality services to the patients.

Impacts of Incivility on Nurses’ Clinical Judgement

Some various targets and victims suffer from incivility, including the sick and healthcare workers. According to Brown (2017), the recipients of such behaviors suffer psychological, physical, and behavioral consequences, which prevent the caregivers from giving better and quality judgments regarding the needs of their patients. This affects their concentration on their work, and most of the time makes them view patients as unworthy of their services. Moreover, they can also view their leadership as incompetent in addressing critical issues within the organization. Consequently, most nurses lose interest in their caregiving and quit their jobs for a better employer or another industry.

Both directly victimized nurses and those who have experienced incivility in various nursing jobs develop low self-esteem. They lose their self-worth, which makes them experience abnormalities in their bodies, such as headaches and insomnia. According to Geldart et al. (2018), nurses who experienced incivility showed a high rate of effects such as depression, anxiety, and stress. Therefore, incivility affects healthcare service delivery, hence putting patients’ well-being at risk.

Incivility Issues at Healthcare Workplace

Clinical incivility can result in multiple effects that impede the health status of patients. For instance, when nurses are rude and harass their patients, the sick experience adverse effects, which result in a compromised healing process. Furthermore, nurses who possess incivility characters do not perform optimally when they are delegated various duties in their jobs, hence, mess the life of the patients (Geldart et al., 2018). Such nurses often feel they are above the assigned task or should have more significant roles, such as administrative levels. On the other hand, nurses who have been victims of incivility find it challenging to handle their respective duties for fears of repeated harassment or any other unacceptable behavior against them. Consequently, this results in reduced healthcare performances due to lowered self-esteem and self-confidence at the assigned task, hence poor patient medical attendance.

The most common example of nurse incivility occurs when a patient wants a medical service from a healthcare facility. The nurse does not show any concern or interest regarding the requested assistance. On the contrary, the nurse responds rudely to the patient and blames the patient for the ailment. For example, if the patient was supposed to go for surgery and was required to prepare for the theatre, the nurse must ensure that the sick person is given the anesthesia drugs at the right time and the proper dosage. However, due to the nurse’s psychological condition resulting from incivility, the nurse injects the patient with the wrong drug or overdoses the needed anesthesia. The effect of an anesthesia drug overdose can result in the patient not regaining consciousness after the surgery. To counter the effects of the overdose drugs, the patient must be given other types of drugs, which have more adverse effects later. Such cases can result in inquiries, which expose the actions of the nurse, hence resulting in the nurse losing their job.

The Effects of Incivility on Clinical Site Communication

Communication is one of the most crucial elements in delivering quality services in working healthcare environments since it is crucial in the coordination of the health facilities’ activities. In addition, effective communication leads to therapeutic communication among various health care stakeholders and the clients, resulting in a healthy relationship between the parties. However, nurses’ incivility can negatively impact communication, resulting in poor healthcare service delivery to the patients.

The incivility witnessed among the nurses can lead to the development of disrespect between peers, hence poor communication transmission to the relevant recipients and their feedback. Ineffective communication results in misunderstanding or deliberate ignorance of given information. The poor communication resulting from incivility among nurses harms the patients as they do not receive the appropriate health care attention (Geldart et al., 2018). Therefore, it is crucial to educate the nurses on the need for improving clinical practices and the need for appropriate behaviors while at work.

Initiatives to Decrease Incivility Within Clinical Sites

Since incivility negatively impacts health outcomes, various health facilities have diverse ways to decrease such unacceptable behaviors within their clinical sites. Such interventions work when they are addressed personally and assisted with the organizational policies on band conduct medical facilities. First, nurses are taught regarding their individual and collective responsibilities to the patients, the healthcare facility, and the health profession at large. This helps caregivers to develop and enhance interpersonal relationships with their fellow nurses and other medical professionals within their clinical sites. Second, nurses are also trained to be cautious about their interactions with each other, their managers, and the patients by understanding how to communicate and deal with each party effectively. This ensures the proper flow and processing of information, hence giving the necessary intervention. Third, health facilities have formidable policies that ensure that each nurse works within a stimulating framework. The policy approach is critical as it results in both the effectiveness of the hospital offering the health services and the seamless working condition of the nurses.


Incivility within the healthcare paradigm is a combination of unacceptable behaviors among nurses in their workplaces. It leads to poor services in the medical sector, especially in the nurses’ practices. The incivilities experienced among nurses result in emotional and psychological distresses, preventing nurses from offering quality health care services. Incivility at workplaces results in poor performance in care delivery as it lowers an individual’s self-esteem and self-confidence.


Brown, T. J. (2017). The ethical dimensions of incivility in nursing education. Nursing and Healthcare International Journal, 1(3).

Geldart, S., Langlois, L., Shannon, H. S., Cortina, L. M., Griffith, L., & Haines, T. (2018). Workplace incivility, psychological distress, and the protective effect of co-worker support. International Journal of Workplace Health Management, 11(2), 96-110.

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"Incivility Within the Healthcare Metaparadigm." ApeGrade, 15 Oct. 2022, apegrade.com/incivility-within-the-healthcare-metaparadigm/.

1. ApeGrade. "Incivility Within the Healthcare Metaparadigm." October 15, 2022. https://apegrade.com/incivility-within-the-healthcare-metaparadigm/.


ApeGrade. "Incivility Within the Healthcare Metaparadigm." October 15, 2022. https://apegrade.com/incivility-within-the-healthcare-metaparadigm/.


ApeGrade. 2022. "Incivility Within the Healthcare Metaparadigm." October 15, 2022. https://apegrade.com/incivility-within-the-healthcare-metaparadigm/.


ApeGrade. (2022) 'Incivility Within the Healthcare Metaparadigm'. 15 October.

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