A Survey of Students' Perceptions of Bullying Behaviors in Nursing Education in Mississippi

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Anna Brock

Advisor Department



The purpose of this study was to describe (a) types, sources, and frequency of bullying behaviors, (b) behaviors used by nursing students to cope with bullying, (c) resources provided by nursing programs to cope with bullying, and (d) differences in frequency and types of bullying behaviors according to student characteristic categories encountered in nursing education from the student perspective. A non-experimental descriptive study was undertaken to address study questions. Participants completed the investigator-developed Bullying in Nursing Education Questionnaire (BNEQ). Descriptive data analysis results addressed research questions and reported frequencies and percentages. When responding to the BNEQ, 636 participants (95.6%) reported encountering at least one bullying behavior during classroom or clinical course work. Cursing and Swearing, Inappropriate Behaviors, and Belittling or Humiliating Behaviors were most frequently reported. School of Nursing (SON) Classmates, SON Faculty, Patient, and Hospital/Clinic Nurse were most frequently reported sources. The most frequently reported behavior used to cope was "Did Nothing" (34.9%). More respondents answered "I Do Not Know" to queries about policies and resources. Differences in frequency and types of behaviors according to student characteristics were reported. "Frequent/Always" frequency reports provided examples of the differences. Male reports of Yelling and Shouting and Cursing and Swearing ranked higher than female reports. Female reports of Hostility after Accomplishments and Being Ignored ranked higher than male reports. The 35 to 44 year old group's report of Inappropriate Behavior ranked higher than the other three age groups. The 45 and older age group's report of Actual/Threats of Aggression ranked higher than the other three age groups. The report from average grade group "C" of Being Ignored and Isolated ranked higher than group "B," and group "B" ranked higher than group "A." The Other ethnic group's report of Belittling or Humiliating Behavior at the "Frequent/Always" frequency ranked higher than the other two ethnic groups. Recommendations to address bullying in nursing education in Mississippi include adoption of "Zero Tolerance" policies at the state and individual school level, education and training. Finally, future studies should provide further exploration into bullying and testing of relationships between variables.