Effective communication has a great impact on nurses’ job satisfaction, team relationships, as well as patient care/safety. Previous studies have highlighted the various beneficial effects of enhancing communication through assertiveness training programs for nurses. However, most programs take a long time to implement; thus, briefer programs are urgently required for universal on-the-job-training in the workplace. The purpose of this feasibility study was to develop and evaluate a modified brief assertiveness training program (with cognitive techniques) for nurses in the workplace.
This study was carried out as a single-group, open trial (pre-post comparison without a control group). Registered nurses and assistant nurses, working at two private psychiatric hospitals in Miyazaki Prefecture in Japan, were recruited. After enrolling in the study, participants received a program of two 90-min sessions with a 1-month interval between sessions. The primary outcome was the Rathus Assertiveness Schedule (RAS), with secondary measurements using the Brief Version of the Fear of Negative Evaluation Scale (BFNE) and the Brief Job Stress Questionnaire (BJSQ). Assessments were conducted at baseline and after a 1-month interval (pre- and post-intervention).
A total of 22 participants enrolled in the study and completed the program. The mean total score on the primary outcome (RAS) significantly improved from −12.9 (SD = 17.2) to −8.6 (SD = 18.6) ( p = 0.01). The within-group effect size at the post-intervention was Cohen’s d = 0.24; this corresponds to the small effect of the program. Regarding secondary outcomes, there were no statistically significant effects on the BFNE or any of the BJSQ subscales (job-stressors, psychological distress, physical distress, worksite support, and satisfaction).
This single-group feasibility study demonstrated that our modified brief assertiveness training for nurses seems feasible and may achieve a favorable outcome in improving their assertiveness. Further controlled trials with longer follow-up periods are required in order to address the limitations of this study.