Lateral Violence in nursing and Implications to Nursing practice

Increasing attention is being placed on employee relations as organizations realize the importance of a good working environment in performance improvement. With regard to healthcare provision, an issue that has curtailed good interactions among the nursing community hence adversely affecting employee satisfaction is bullying of nurses by their colleagues (Bigony, Lipke, Lundberg, McGraw, Pagac & Rogers, 2009). As it has come to be referred to; lateral violence (henceforth LV) involves “disruptive behavior that interferes with effective health care communication and thus threatens a culture of patient safety” (Bigony, et al., 2009, p. 688). As such; most of the work place behavior that has traditionally been ignored as part of the nursing practice has subsequently been identified to constitute forms of LV. This include behavior such as non verbal innuendoes that demean colleagues e.g. eyebrow raising or eye-rolling; verbal affronts; withholding information; sabotage; backstabbing; and scapegoating (Bigony, et al., 2009). Other forms are undermining activities; disrespecting personal privacy and broken confidences (Bigony, et al. 2009). LV in nursing could thus be thought of as aggression activities or events meted by one nurse on another that hamper effective communication and harmonious interactions (Sheridan-Leos, 2008).

With such an array of ways through which LV can be perpetuated, bullying might be a common occurrence among the nursing fraternity. In fact such behaviors have been noted to be “toxic to the nursing profession” with the potential of negatively impacting on quality staff retention (Center for American Nurses [CAN], 2008, p. 1). With the issue being of such high concern to the future of the nursing profession this paper aims to make a literature review to identify: the gravity of LV in the nursing fraternity, susceptibility to bullying, outcomes on both the victims and the quality of health, and measures to reduce and ultimately uproot the vice from the profession. Finally the implication of the vice if left to continue unabated to the future of nursing are proposed. Go to part 2 here.

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