Incivility from Patients and their Families: Can Organisational Justice Protect Nurses from Burnout?

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Aim: To determine whether interpersonal and informational justice influence the association between daily experiences of incivility and burnout among nurses. Background: Research has suggested that incivility is a concern for managers. Nurses regularly experience incivility, particularly from their patients and patients’ families. Incivility, in turn, can increase symptoms of burnout. Method: Seventy-five nurses provided data on interpersonal and informational justice within their organisation. During five working days, nurses completed a twice-daily survey assessing incivility and burnout. Hierarchical linear modelling analyses examined the main effects and interact ion effects of the three variables on burnout. Result: Incivility was positively associated with burnout. In addition, interpersonal justice strengthened the incivility–burnout relationship. Informational justice did not significantly affect the incivility–burnout relationship. Conclusion: Incivility is associated with more burnout. The work environment also influences burnout; when organisations provide informational justice, nurses experience less burnout. In organisations where interpersonal justice is high, nurses are more likely to experience burnout.

Implications for nursing management: Nursing managers can help employees by ensuring that management’s decisions are transparent. In addition, managers should be aware that in organisations with higher interpersonal justice, nurses might be more likely to experience symptoms of burnout as a result of incivility from patients and their families.



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Journal of Nursing Management