January 10th, 2018
Horizontal Violence in the nursing profession
In healthcare organizations, bullying of nurses by colleagues leads to nurses’ dissatisfaction with their working environment thus present nurse-retention challenges. Victims of nurse-to-nurse bullying (horizontal violence), fear to go to work and may eventually leave the organization if such bullying continues (Rocker, 2008; Vessey, Demarco, Gaffney & Budin, 2009). Accordingly, high prevalence of horizontal violence aggravates the shortage of professional nursing staff and thus hinders effective provision of quality care.
Horizontal violence includes any “disruptive behavior that interferes with effective healthcare communication … thus threatens a culture of patient safety” (Bigony, Lipke, Lundberg, McGraw, Pagac & Rogers, 2009, p. 688). It includes behaviors historically wished away as part of nursing practice such as non-verbal demeaning innuendoes (e.g. eye rolling), verbal affronts, withholding information, backstabbing, and disrespecting personal privacy (Bigony et al., 2009). In a study conducted in hospitals from a large Canadian city, horizontal violence was a frequent feature of nurse-to-nurse relations among the interviewed nurses (Daiski, 2004). In the U.S horizontal violence is also prevalent with one study indicating 65 percent of the surveyed nurses to have experienced horizontal violence in their work (cited in Bigony et al., 2009, p.688), while a different study indicated prevalence rates of up to 70 percent among staff Registered Nurses (staff RNs) (Vessey, Demarco, Gaffney & Budin, 2009, p. 302). Such high prevalence rates and adverse outcomes associated with horizontal violence necessitate action to avert high staff turnover. Go to the outcomes of horizontal violence in the nursing profession.