Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Cynthia P. Smith


The purpose of this qualitative, phenomenological study was to explore the perceived experiences of incivility, and the impact of those incidences, which occurred during the clinical training portion of the participants’ nursing education. Six newly graduated nurses were identified through referrals from nursing faculty and nursing colleagues. Research was conducted through the use of qualitative research methodology, which included in-depth written feedback, one-to-one interviews, and a focus group. Rich descriptive data was captured and coded to answer the posed research questions. Nursing graduates reported that widespread uncivil behavior existed throughout their clinical nursing training. Three major findings include: recent graduates from hospital-based nursing programs clearly defined incivility and identified several uncivil behaviors experienced within the clinical environment as nursing students; recently graduated nurses described many experiences with difficult individuals identified as instructors, cover nurses, staff nurses, aides, and doctors as the perpetrators of incivility in the clinical setting; and exposure to incivility in the clinical environment had a strong impact on retention and employment choices post-graduation. These findings pinpoint an urgent need for change on all levels of the nursing profession. This research yielded recommendations that will enhance the quality of nursing education, address the nursing shortage, and return the nursing culture to its intended purpose: incorporating the ideals of caring and wellbeing to those the profession serves, from education to the delivery of quality health care.

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