Civility in the Workplace

 In Nurses Weekly

A grave issue within the nursing profession that can cause an unhealthy workplace is nursing incivility. It exists in every area of nursing, and it contributes to burnout, an unsafe work environment and poor patient care. If we are to cultivate a culture of compassion and collaboration in our organizations, we must take the initiative to promote a workplace that aligns with values, wellness and positivity.

According to S. Chris Edmonds, the author of The Culture Engine and the article Four Steps to Cultivate Workplace Civility, there are four proven steps to cultivate civility in the workplace. Taking on this challenge and advocating for a positive work culture will result in nurse retention and trust in the organization, which will then lead to quality patient care.

The first step in setting a new standard in the workplace is to treat your colleagues as you would like to be treated. Set the example of civility and bring attention to those who also behave civilly. Do this by behaving in ways that align with open communication, active listening and politeness. Setting the standard and aligning with a culture that champions positive behaviors will set the brand for civility in the workplace.

The second step in creating a positive culture is to model the standard of civility in the workplace. As we all know, we have all at one time or another acquired uncivil behaviors. Self-examination will allow you to look into your actions and change any practices that may be uncivil. Then, be the model of a civil leader.

The third step allows you to coach the standard in your workplace. After you have completed your inner work and set a new standard of civility in your workplace, determine who your civility champions will be. Coach the civility champions by connecting to them via a true human-to-human connection. Having a few civility champions will represent the “gold standard” of positivity and wellness in the workplace. The civility champions will also represent a reference to others as to what civility in the workplace looks like.

The final step in promoting civility in the workplace is to look at your organizational policies. Does civil behavior get recognized by the organization and is it rewarded? Ensure your values align with your organizational values, which will advocate for positive interactions with others, foster an environment that is human-centric and ensure employee retention for the future of the organization.

Do you choose civility in your workplace? Write to the Healthy Nurse, Healthy New Jersey team at and let us know how you promote civility in your workplace, and you will have a chance to win the book Mastering Civility by Christine Porath.

We wish you well on your Healthy Nurse journey!

Kiki Magno MSN, RN-BC, Healthy Nurse, Healthy New Jersey co-team lead, and the Healthy Nurse, Healthy New Jersey Team


Edmonds, Chris S. (2017) Four Steps to Cultivate Workplace Civility;…/2017/04/14/four-steps-proven-to-cultivate-workplace-civility

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