The influence of empowerment and incivility on the mental health of new graduate nurses

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AimTo test a model based on Kanter's theory of structural empowerment, which examines the relationships between new graduate nurses' perceptions of structural empowerment, workplace incivility and mental health symptoms.BackgroundThe initial years of practice can be particularly stressful for new graduate nurses, who may be particularly vulnerable to uncivil behaviour as a result of their status in the work environment. Disempowerment and incivility in the workplace may compound the mental health symptoms experienced by new graduate nurses.MethodA predictive, non-experimental design was used to examine the relationship between structural empowerment, workplace incivility and mental health symptoms in a sample of new graduate nurses working in hospital settings in Ontario (n = 394).ResultHigh levels of structural empowerment were significantly associated with fewer negative mental health symptoms in new graduates. However, co-worker incivility and supervisor incivility partially mediated the effect of structural empowerment on new graduate nurses' mental health symptoms.ConclusionThe findings suggest that empowering workplaces contribute to lower mental health symptoms in new graduate nurses, an effect that is diminished by incivility.Implications for nursing managementStrategies that foster empowering work conditions and reduce uncivil behaviour are needed to promote positive mental health in new graduate nurses.

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