An examination of envy and jealousy in nursing academia
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An examination of envy and jealousy in nursing academia

Michelle Cleary Professor of mental health nursing, School of Health Sciences, University of Tasmania, Sydney, Australia
Garry Walter Professor of psychiatry, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada; Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine (VELiM) and Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Australia
Elizabeth Halcomb Professor of primary health care nursing, University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia
Violeta Lopez Professor, Alice Lee Centre for Nursing Studies, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore

Aim To discuss envy and jealousy and how their positive and negative aspects among nurse academics affect the workplace.

Background In nursing academia, jealousy and envy are common emotions, engendered by demands for high productivity, intense competition for limited resources, preferences for particular assignments and opportunities for promotions. When these feelings are moderate and part of everyday rivalry, competition and ambition benefit the organisation. However, jealousy and envy can have serious consequences including damaged relationships and communication, and the undermining of colleagues’ performance.

Discussion Strategies are recommended to provide opportunities for self-reflection and consideration of how the workplace affects nursing academics’ wellbeing and professional performance.

Conclusion Jealousy and envy can be damaging emotions in the workplace. The embittered, hostile person can undermine and damage relationships, disrupt teams and communication, and undermine organisational performance. Discussing the positive and negative effects of envy and jealousy provides an opportunity for nursing academics to self-reflect and to consider others and their own personal and professional performance.

Implications for practice Understanding how jealousy and envy impact on the work environment, workplace relationships and individual/team performance is important especially for early career and seasoned nursing academics alike.

Nurse Researcher. 23, 6, 14-19. doi: 10.7748/nr.2016.e1405


Peer review

This article has been subject to double-blind review and has been checked using antiplagiarism software

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 05 June 2015

Accepted: 10 November 2015

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