Wendy Budin, Ph.D., says verbal abuse of newly licensed registered nurses affects workplaces.

Almost half of newly licensed registered nurses were likely to have been verbally abused at work by their colleagues within the past three months, according to a new study. 

These nurses feel less satisfied at their jobs, view their work environment negatively and want to resign. 

Four researchers with the RN Work Project surveyed 1,400 new registered nurses about the frequency of verbal abuse received. Nearly half said they’d been verbally abused between one and five times in the past three months; 5% reported being abused more than five times.

The most frequent types of abuse were being ignored and being talked to in a condescending way. 

“The verbal abuse … is best characterized as passive-aggressive,” said Wendy Budin, Ph.D., director of nursing research, NYU Langone Medical Center and adjunct professor, NYU College of Nursing.

To create a more productive workplace, the researchers recommend therapeutic communication, assertiveness training and conflict management strategies.

“The first step in combating this issue is recognition that all workplaces are vulnerable,” Budin told McKnight’s. “Nurse leaders must create a supportive, caring environment. You can’t have a caring environment if verbal abuse and other disruptive behaviors are allowed to flourish.”