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First Responders First - Institutional management and logistics stressors



A number of workplace stressors that likely affect you daily are caused by management and employment logistics. Constant exposure to these stressors, or constantly feeling stressed, can negatively affect your resilience, well-being & mental health.

You all, as floor and charge nurses, nurse educators, and nursing managers are leaders in your units and heavily influence the real and perceived stressors. Resilient leadership can prevent stressors from affecting staff, but they can also become a stressor for staff too. Three negative management styles that have been studied in healthcare environments are passive leadership, abusive supervision, and over-controlling leadership.

Passive leadership is inactive, choosing to be non-participatory for both positive and negative situations in the workplace. These leaders may do nothing to address a nurse who consistently does not return from break on time. This type of leadership can reduce team effectiveness and create negative attitudes amongst nursing staff, leading to stress.

Abusive supervision is leadership that is hostile towards nurses and can include consistent or occasional verbal or non-verbal behaviors, such as discrediting a nurse’s judgment, displaying overtly rude behaviors, imposing overly critical or patronizing comments, or subjecting a nurse to embarrassing situations in front of others. For example, these leaders may disclose a clinical error a nurse made on shift, and shame the nurse in an email thread with other staff members. This type of leadership causes stress and anxiety, reduces self-esteem, decreases job performance, and fosters fear and resentment towards leaders.

Overcontrolling leadership restricts a nurse’s autonomy and decision-making ability, often due to previous perceived mistakes. For example, if you mislabelled a blood sample, an over-controlling leader may begin to observe and comment on your performance regularly across several of their clinical procedures. This type of leadership can make nurses self-conscious, create stress and anxiety, and/or foster resentment towards their leaders.  

  1. "The impact of positive and negative intraoperative surgeons' leadership behaviors on surgical team performance" The American Journal of Surgery (2018)
  2. "The effects of amplitude and stability of circadian rhythm and occupational stress on burnout syndrome and job dissatisfaction among irregular shift working nurses" Journal of Clinical Nursing (2019)