Nursing Students' Academic Incivility

Sunday, 22 July 2018: 3:45 PM

Jansirani Natarajan, MSN


The incidence of incivility in nursing education is increasing in most countries and it is affecting the culture of safety and the teaching-learning processes. Despite reports of increasing trends, little is known about nursing students’ academic incivility in the Middle East. There are no other studies from Middle Eastern countries that have reported about academic incivility. Therefore there is need for more studies in the Middle East region to document the extent, source, and nature of NS incivility and the associated factors. This study aimed at exploring the perceptions and extent of academic incivility among nursing students (NS) and nursing faculty members (NF) in a university based undergraduate nursing program in Oman.


A quantitative cross sectional survey was used to explore NS academic incivility from the perspective of NS and NF in a public university in Oman. The NS had to meet the inclusion criteria of being a: BSN student who is at least 18 years of age; spent at least one year in the BSN program; officially registered and studying at university; completed at least one clinical nursing course; and has not yet graduated from the university. The inclusion criteria for NF were: worked at the college for at least 12 months; and having responsibilities which require getting into direct contact with NS. Data was obtained from a sample of 155 NS and 40 NF using the Incivility in Nursing Education Survey.


The majority of NF were female (72%) and were qualified with a master or PhD (85%).The Nursing Students were between the age of 18 to 21 years (71.1%) and with a cumulative grade point above 2 out of 4 (97.5%). There was agreement between NS and NF on the majority of behaviors perceived to be disruptive. The incidence of NS academic incivility was moderate. The most common uncivil behaviors were acting bored or apathetic in class, holding conversations that distract others in class, using cell phones during class, arriving late for class, and being unprepared for class. There were significant differences between NF and NS perceived incidence of uncivil behaviors such as sleeping in class (p= 0.016); not paying attention in class (p = 0.004); refusing to answer direct questions (p= 0.013); leaving class early (p= 0.000); cutting or not coming to class (p= 0.024); and creating tension by dominating class discussions (p= 0.002).


Student academic incivility is moderately present in nursing education in Oman, and this may have implications in terms of the future of the profession and patient care. There is need for more streamlined policies and strategies to curtail the incidence of academic incivility and to maintain safe and effective learning environments. The preventive approach requires setting clear expectations and using strategies such as distributing syllabi whose contents is designed to address administrative areas such as course objectives, evaluation methods, exam and attendance policies, and repercussions associated with acts of incivility. The other potential strategies for handling incivility include building respectful and trusting relationships between NF and NS, outlining and discussing ethical behaviors during student orientation programs, incorporating honor codes into all nursing classes, and avoiding the culture of blame. Interventions such as civility journal clubs have also been found to lead to positive changes in attitudes and behaviors related to civility of NS, and the students participating in such activities are more likely to be helpful to their peers.