The authors of the study say that it's this kind of passive/aggressive abuse that's the most "insidious."
"Rather than yelling, swearing, insulting or humiliating behavior, most early career RNs reported that the abuse they experienced involved condescension or lack of acknowledgement," Wendy Budin, RN-BC, PhD, FAAN, adjunct professor at the College of Nursing, New York University, one of the study authors, said in a statement.
"This kind of subtle abuse is less likely to be reported and more likely to be overlooked as a problem, which makes it all the more insidious and it is all the more important that hospital administrators work to confront and prevent it."
Indeed, Dellasega told me a few weeks ago that such behavior is common when nurses form cliques and gang up on or exclude other nurses. For example, nurses who are part of a clique often make rude or sarcastic comments to or about newcomers, and even go so far as not sharing supplies.
Part-time, agency, or floater nurses are another group of nurses that Dellasega says often experience bullying. The RN Work Project study appears to support this claim: It found that staffing shortfalls were also correlated with higher levels of abuse.
Another finding had to do with shift length, with RNs working day shifts saying that they experienced higher levels of verbal abuse than those working evening and weekend shifts. RNs working eight-hour shifts were less likely to experience abuse than RNs working 12-hour shifts. Unmarried nurses reported higher levels of verbal abuse, too.