Monday, August 15, 2011

Lateral Violence in Nursing and a Blurb About Google+

Have you ever heard of lateral violence? I've heard of it and never really paid it much attention or delved into the dynamics of the phenomenon. It's just another term for bullying really. Funny thing is I have been witness to and a victim of this particular form of bullying many (many) times. I can even recount times in nursing school when I was bullied by classmates and nurses during clinical and classes. Is this type of behavior acceptable amongst nurses? If not then why has it happened to me and others countless times in my career (I include nursing school) which now spans over two decades?

In an article that was shared by the website Nurse Together written by Kathleen Bartholomew (who has written a book Nurse to Nurse Hostility) there are actual statistics that accompany this statement. Also factoring in to this phenomenon is the fact that this problem causes mistakes and poor treatment of patients when the nurse is constantly being exposed to lateral violence. This issue also applies to those who just witness incidences.

Just what constitutes lateral violence you might ask? There are several forms and several ways that this abuse plays out. Behaviors from peers are referred to as horizontal or lateral hostility and are defined as: "Consistent patterns of behavior designed to control, diminish or devalue a peer (or group) which creates a risk to health or safety" (Farrell, 2005). Overtly consisting of but not limited to name calling, bickering, shouting, blaming, put-downs, intimidation, and gossip. Covertly consisting of but not limited to unfair assignments, refusing to help someone, ignoring, refusing to only work with certain people or not work with others, sabotage, whining, and exclusion.

I wish that I could say that I never witness these things. But every day that I work I am a victim of and witness to ignoring, refusing to work with certain others, whining, ignoring, gossip, put downs, raised eye brows, exclusion, fault finding, criticism, and raised voices. It is tiresome to say the least and really has made my workplace rather toxic. I am part of the problem because I just passively let people do these things to others and myself, so I think I can shoulder some of the blame. I am definitely going to try to become part of the solution not part of the problem. Now I must go and try to find Kathleen Bartholomew's book. Speak Your Truth: Proven Strategies for Effective Nurse-Physician Communication Stressed Out About Communication SkillsEnding Nurse-to-Nurse Hostility: Why Nurses Eat Their Young and Each Other

Just updated my new Google+ account (thanks for the invite Natalie). I don't know if it's just me or if it really is easier to navigate this new social networking site. I am sure there are always ways they can make it as difficult to navigate as Facebook has managed to do. Time will tell.

1 comment:

  1. Tammy, I really like what you are saying here. It's easier in most cases to be a part of the problem rather than the solution.
    Often we don't even recognize we are a part of the problem.
    I know you will do well in becoming part of the solution! I'm posting this in Facebook, because I have a new (almost) daughter-in-law who is also a nurse. Thought she might find it useful.
    P.S. Long time no see :)