Workplace Bullying Among Nurses: An Exploration of Experiences and Perceived Root Causes

Primary Investigator: Judy Arnetz, PhD, MPH, PT    

Principal Investigator: Judy Arnetz, PhD, MPH, PT, Professor and Associate Chair for Research, Department of Family Medicine, College of Human Medicine, Michigan State University (MSU)

Co-Investigators: Daisy Chang, PhD, Department of Psychology (MSU); Shelia Cotten, PhD, Department of Media and Information (MSU); Laurie Fitzpatrick, research assistant, Department of Family Medicine (MSU); and Christine Jodoin, MSN, RN, Vice President of Nursing at Sparrow Health Systems.  


The Center for Innovation and Research provided both $2,000.00 and $5,500.00 micro-grants for a pilot study on bullying among nurses at Sparrow Hospital. The aim of the study is to explore experiences and perceptions of the root causes of bullying among a sample of hospital nurses.

The team will conduct a series of 4 focus groups, two with nurse managers and two with nurses from various work specialties (e.g., emergency room, operating room, critical care, medical/surgical, and stepdown). Focus groups will be audiotaped and transcribed verbatim. Qualitative content analysis of the transcribed focus group discussions will be analyzed to derive major themes and sub-themes from the text. Results of the focus group analysis will inform a large-scale questionnaire study that will be conducted among nurses across the Sparrow Health System.

 The data from this pilot work will be used in a NIH application for funding future research. The long-term objective is to work with hospital stakeholders, including both management and labor, to develop and evaluate an intervention to reduce bullying in hospital environments. The long-term goal is to enhance the safety and well-being of nurses, thereby enhancing the environment and quality of patient care.