Incivility in Nursing Education: A Descriptive Study of Definitions and Prevalence

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Evidence suggests that incivility on American college campuses, ranging from insulting remarks and verbal abuse to violence, is a serious and growing concern. Faculty and students are often unsure how to address these behaviors. Therefore, 32 (88.9%) nursing faculty and 324 (69.4%) nursing students at one university completed a survey to gather their perceptions of student and faculty behaviors that may be considered uncivil. Student behaviors most frequently reported as uncivil by faculty included making disapproving groans, making sarcastic remarks or gestures, not paying attention in class, dominating class discussions, using cell phones during class, and cheating on examinations. The majority of faculty reported that uncivil student behaviors occurred rarely or sometimes. Examples of faculty behaviors considered uncivil by students included canceling class without warning, being unprepared for class, not allowing open discussion, being disinterested or cold, belittling or taunting students, delivering fast-paced lectures, and not being available outside of class. Students perceived incivility as a moderate problem in the nursing academic environment. It is imperative that nurse educators help students and faculty cope effectively with these behaviors; the authors discuss strategies to do so.

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