Nursing students’ experiences of unprofessional behaviours and associations with guideline compliance: A multicenter survey

Ilana Livshiz-Riven, Nancy Hurvitz, Keren Grinberg, Ofra Halperin, Ahuva Spitz, Michal Itzhaki, Orli Grinstein Cohen, Ayala Blau, Tomer Ziv-Baran, Johanna Westbrook, Rachel Urwin, Ling Li, Sivia Barnoy, Sima Reicher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Aims: To assess the reported prevalence of unprofessional behaviours, including incivility and bullying, experienced by nursing students during their clinical practice. To assess the prevalence of students’ abilities to speak up about unprofessional behaviours encountered and infection control concerns; their compliance with standard precautions and COVID-19 guidelines; and their perceived responsibility for infection prevention. Lastly, to describe the potential impact of unprofessional behaviour on compliance with these guidelines. Background: Unprofessional behaviours in healthcare settings are associated with a wide range of individual and organisational negative outcomes for nurses and nursing students, which may affect patient safety. The COVID-19 pandemic created new challenges for clinical education and for infection control. Design: A descriptive cross-sectional design. Methods: A multi-centre survey was carried out in six academic universities and colleges in Israel. The research study involved 369 undergraduate nursing students during 2022. Their clinical experiences were assessed using an online questionnaire. The STROBE guideline was used for accurate reporting. Results: 301 (81.6%) students reported experience of unprofessional behaviour while undertaking clinical practice. Students with reported skills to speak up about unprofessional behaviour were less likely to report having experienced these behaviours (p = 0.003). Students who did not experience unprofessional behaviours were more likely to report higher compliance with standard and COVID-19 precaution guidelines (OR 3.624, 95% CI 1.790–7.335, p < 0.001). These students also had a higher perception of personal responsibility toward patient safety (OR 1.757, 95% CI 1.215–2.541, p = 0.003). Conclusions: Nursing students experiencing unprofessional behaviours in the clinical setting reported lower compliance with standard and COVID-19 precautions. In addition, cultivating personal responsibility towards patients’ safety may have a positive impact on guidelines compliance. Nursing educators and leaders should develop strategies to enable students to better cope with unprofessional behaviours. Closer cooperation between all stakeholders may promote civility among nurses and nursing students in the clinical setting.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103739
JournalNurse Education in Practice
StatePublished - Aug 2023


  • COVID-19
  • Guidelines compliance
  • Incivility
  • Infection control
  • Patient safety
  • Speaking up
  • Standard precautions
  • Unprofessional behaviour


Dive into the research topics of 'Nursing students’ experiences of unprofessional behaviours and associations with guideline compliance: A multicenter survey'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this