Academic journal article Nursing Education Perspectives

STUDENT VOICES on Faculty Incivility in Nursing Education: A Conceptual Model

Academic journal article Nursing Education Perspectives

STUDENT VOICES on Faculty Incivility in Nursing Education: A Conceptual Model

Article excerpt


Colaizzi's phenomenological method for qualitative study was used to describe nursing students' lived experiences with uncivil encounters with nursing faculty. Seven current and former nursing students from various levels of nursing education were interviewed to investigate their perceptions of faculty incivility in nursing education and to examine the emotional and behavioral impact the perceived incivility had on them. Three major themes emerged regarding faculty incivility: 1) behaving in demeaning and belittling ways, 2) treating students unfairly and subjectively, and 3) pressuring students to conform to unreasonable faculty demands. Three major themes emerged from students' emotional responses to faculty incivility: 1) feeling traumatized, 2) feeling powerless and helpless, and 3) feeling angry and upset Behavioral responses are also reported. A conceptual model is presented to illustrate the findings. Recommendations for further research are included.

Key Words Incivility - Nurse Faculty - Nursing Students Student/Faculty Relations - Phenomenology - Conceptual Model

LIKE MOST HUMAN BEHAVIOR, incivility is an interactive and dynamic process where both parties share responsibility. David, a participant in a study on student perceptions of faculty incivility, wrote of the effects of an instructor's behavior: "[It] not only influences the student's behavior but it can affect the student's sense of morality, integrity, and ethical conduct. Uncivil treatment can squelch any creativity and personal pride students have in themselves, and can perpetuate a sadistic survival mentality and a 'save yourself attitude that is detrimental to the nursing profession. The saying 'nurses eat their young' remains a prevalent attitude today. How can the nursing profession preach the importance of caring when nurses ignore or sacrifice ethics, justice, and personal integrity for their own gain?" * Whether incivility is instigated by students or perpetrated by faculty, the results can be distressing and far reaching. Research is needed to understand student and faculty incivility, how it impacts the teaching-learning environment, AND HOW IT MAY BE PREVENTED.

* Academic incivility in nursing education is defined as any speech or action that disrupts the harmony of the teaching-learning environment (I). Examples range from the apparently trivial, such as the misuse of cell phones and rude and sarcastic comments, to threats or actual acts of physical harm (2). Findings from the growing number of studies of academic incivility in nursing education support the need for continued investigation (2-13). * Luparell (9,11) described aggressive incidents of student incivility against nurse faculty that resulted in significant and persistent psychological damage. Faculty reported losing sleep and suffering from feelings of diminished self-worth. Many harbored feelings of self-doubt about their teaching abilities and assumed much of the blame for the incivility. Some faculty members retired from teaching altogether as a result of uncivil encounters with students.

Thomas (13) conducted extensive interviews with nursing students on the topic of faculty incivility and found that students were distressed about the manner in which they were treated by some nurse faculty. Thomas identified several causes of student anger, including perceived faculty unfairness or discrimination, unreasonable expectations, and unexpected changes in classroom and clinical schedules. Students described being embarrassed and debased by nurse faculty and being made to feel inept and ineffective.

Clark and Springer (7,8), who extended the body of research on incivility in nursing education to include both faculty and student perspectives, found that both groups viewed academic incivility as a moderate to serious problem. In research by Clark (2,5), participants described how uncivil behaviors by faculty, such as exerting superiority and treating students unfairly, left students feeling inadequate, inferior, and lacking confidence. …

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