Date of Conferral



Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)




Mary Catherine Garner


AbstractIncivility and hazing in health care results in unsafe environments, not only for the nurse but also for the client, facility, and other health professionals. The project site, a privately owned medical clinic, has a high employee turnover rate with exit interviews indicating bullying and incivility from long-term nursing staff toward new employees as critical reasons for employee resignation. The literature offers minimal information regarding territoriality, a concept associated with aggressive (i.e., alpha) behaviors in animals and humans and incivility in nursing. The purpose of the project was to identify whether territoriality was a behavioral factor that may have contributed to negative behaviors and actions in this non-acute care setting. The practice-focused question asked if there was an issue with territoriality among nursing staff in the independent medical practice. In this project, the social cognitive theory and the social psychological model were used to identify specific behaviors and frequency of uncivil behaviors existing within the clinic. Data collection was accomplished with the Short-Negative Acts Questionnaire, a 12-item scale designed to measure incivility exposure in the workplace environment. Quantitative analysis was used to measure the direct and indirect exposure to negative behaviors and actions within the current work environment as well as the frequency of instances showing a link between incivility and territoriality. The results of this measurement revealed all nursing staff, including the office manager, stated they had experienced or were currently experiencing workplace bullying. Addressing territoriality as a factor in nurse incivility may lead to positive social change by creating a better team environment and higher quality of care for patients.