Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Theory, Policy, and Practice

Document Type



This triangulated mixed methods study examines the construct of incivility in nursing higher education within the southeastern United States. A modification of the Incivility in Nursing Education (INE) survey (Clark, 2007) was administered to determine behaviors students identify as uncivil within the various contexts of the associate degree nursing educational environment – classroom and clinical area and among the nursing education triad – students, faculty, and nurses. Ten factors were isolated as a result of exploratory factor analysis. There was a statistically significant difference between beginning and graduating students’ perceptions regarding one factor, Abuse of Faculty Position. Beginning students described this factor as faculty showing favoritism and “not caring.” Graduating students described this factor as faculty being rigid and acting superior. There was a statistically significant difference between where beginning and graduating students perceived incivility occurred most frequently. Beginning students identified the classroom and graduating students identified the clinical area as venues where incivility appeared the most. Analysis of students’ open ended responses revealed differences in the uncivil behaviors found in the classroom and on the clinical unit. Themes emerging included the severity of consequences, harassment, and perpetrators. The consequences of incivility on the clinical unit had the potential to be more severe; there was more opportunity for harassment on the clinical unit where nurses, faculty, patients, peers, and staff were potential perpetrators. A comparison of programs with high and low levels of incivility was conducted through a content analysis of documents related to school mission, curricula, conduct codes, and faculty and by analyzing the open-ended responses on the INE. Findings revealed that programs with high perceived levels of incivility had extensive conduct codes with no student representation on appeals committees, required students to attend nursing classes during the summer, and had an environment which tolerated incivility with consequences focusing on punishment. Programs with low perceived levels of incivility had student representation on appeals committees, did not require attendance during the summer, and focused on dialoguing with those involved in uncivil behavior. Implications for nursing educators are discussed and suggestions for future research are identified.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

MacGregor, Susan K.



Included in

Education Commons