Nursing is an extremely stressful occupation. Nurses are not only expected to maintain high standards of patient care, but are at the same time responsible for coordination of procedures and supplementary services for patients and their families. Lateral violence is another term used for bullying and harassment that occurs when seasoned nurses abuse their positions of power over novice nurses. Unfortunately, quiet aggressive behaviors often take place between veterans and novice nurses on units where the novice nurses do not feel involved in the process of how things are done. This leads to frustration over systems that don't work and leadership that does not listen. Frustration is frequently expressed as aggression towards peers. Novice nurses are often targets of this aggression. It is important to remember that not every organization has this problem, especially when the leadership is engaged and is proactive. Nurses “eating their young” is an ugly description for a very real and unfortunate experience. To bring about change concerning lateral violence, one must first be able to recognize when it occurs, then speak out against it. Support fellow co-workers and express your frustrations to your nurse leaders to reinforce a zero tolerance policy for lateral violence. Origination’s need to have mentoring programs that train preceptors as well as nurses new to the organization about lateral violence and help by spreading awareness. Enforcing a zero tolerance policy and educating staff will help stop lateral violence and create a better work atmosphere for everyone.
Cleary, M., Hunt, G., Walter, G., & Robertson, M. (2009). Dealing with bullying in the workplace: Toward zero tolerance. Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services, 47(12), 34-41. doi:10.3928/02793695-20091103-03 Zager, L., Dulaney, P., & Jacobs, D. (2010). Leaders - stopping lateral violence begins with you:...