Education Career Articles

Connect Facebook Connect Twitter Connect Google+ Connect Pinterest Connect Stumbleupon

What is Lateral Violence and Why Should Nurses Care?

Career News August 13, 2013

Although nurses are often well informed about most common workplace challenges, including fatigue, stress, disease exposure and burnout; most nursing professionals are unfamiliar with lateral violence and how dangerous it can be. Lateral violence, which is also known as horizontal abuse or violence, is a serious problem that involves bullying nursing colleagues and creating an unpleasant work environment. This is an especially urgent issue in the nursing field because, according to the Massachusetts Nursing Association, nurses are particularly inclined towards bullying others and being bullied.

The Definition of Lateral Violence

Lateral violence occurs when employees commit abusive acts against their coworkers, whether those acts are emotional, verbal or physical. The behavior is often ongoing, which can make it feel like it is part of the workplace culture, rather than a dangerous practice that needs to be stopped.

According to the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses, lateral violence can involve such harmful behaviors as withholding information, scapegoating, sabotage, gossiping, yelling, public shaming and refusing to offer help. Regardless of the intensity level of these acts, they are always harmful and should not be a part of any workplace environment.

Unfortunately, lateral violence isn’t a rare practice among nurses. The American Nurses Association reports that 48% of nurses and other healthcare professionals reported that they had witnessed strong verbal abuse in the workplace. 43% of nurses also reported that they had experienced threatening body language at work.

The Implications of Lateral Violence

Although lateral violence can occur in various types of workplaces, it is especially harmful and dangerous when it takes place in the nursing field. For nurses who are the targets of this behavior, lateral violence can lead to a wide range of physical and emotional symptoms, including depression, stress, insomnia, headaches, panic attacks and—in the most intense cases—suicide.

Studies have also shown that lateral violence among a nursing staff can put overall workplace safety at risk. Nurses who are subject to lateral violence are sometimes so affected by their own symptoms that the quality of care they give to their patients decreases.

The hospital or organization as a whole may also suffer as a result of lateral violence. The workplace dissatisfaction that results from this dangerous practice can cause nurses to quit their positions or leave the profession altogether. This means that organizations often have to spend an increased amount of money on recruitment and hiring. The organization also bears the burden of overall low productivity and staff morale. In the most severe cases, a hospital may even have to pay for legal fees if a staff member files harassment charges.

Ways to Stop Lateral Violence

Lateral violence is a serious problem that can create widespread negative effects over the staff and patients, so it’s important for all nurses to be aware of the problem, so they can help recognize it and put a stop to it.

Nurses in administrative and management positions should work with other hospital officials to create clear and strong anti-harassment policies that specifically address bullying and lateral violence. Administrators can also provide the structure and tools that allow employees to comfortably and confidently report violations of these policies.

Nurses who are the targets of lateral violence should take full advantage of their organization’s mental health counseling services, if there are any available. Victims should also be aware of how the harassment is affecting their personal health, and take measures to immediately address any mental or physical health issues that arise. If the lateral violence is prolonged, victims should keep detailed notes of the nature of each incident, the location and time at which it happened and the names of any witnesses.

Nurses and healthcare administrators need to be informed about lateral violence in order to make concerted efforts to prevent and eliminate the practice in the workplace. With education, open communication and resources, this dangerous practice can be reduced and eliminated, making the workplace more comfortable, enjoyable and safe for all employees and patients.

Searching Searching ...

Matching School Ads
5 Program(s) Found
  • Which career path will you take – Business, Nursing, Education, Psychology? Something else? GCU offers more than 100 majors to get you started!
  • Colangelo College of Business: Features more than 25 programs from the bachelor through the master's level, including several high-demand MBA programs and an accelerated accounting degree.
  • College of Nursing and Health Care Professions: Rich 25-year history providing outstanding health care and nursing degree programs, including an RN to BSN program & master's in nursing degrees.
  • College of Education: Whether you are looking to start or advance your career as a teacher or administrator, GCU offers bachelor’s and master’s in education degrees in key areas.
  • College of Humanities and Social Sciences: Provides a job focused education and features a variety of programs from counseling and psychology to justice studies, history and English literature.
  • Does something else interest you? GCU also offers programs in Doctoral Studies; Theology; Science, Engineering & Technology; and Fine Arts & Production. Speak with an enrollment counselor today!
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
2 Program(s) Found
South University , Virginia Beach
  • Several nursing programs are available at the bachelor's, post-graduate, master's, and doctoral levels.
  • Graduate-level specialization options include Nurse Educator, Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Administrator, and more.
  • Nursing programs are available at many of the 11 campus locations across the United States.
Good for Working Adults
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
3 Program(s) Found
  • Average class size is 25, allowing for more one-on-one time with instructors.
  • Has a 97% employment rate among available graduates.
  • All  graduates receive Lifetime Employment  Assistance—free and forever.
  • Michigan's largest independent college.
  • Most instructors are working professionals in the fields they teach.
  • Programs are continuously updated to ensure classes are career-relevant and in sync with what's needed in the industry
Show more [+]
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
5 Program(s) Found
  • Online Bachelor's programs include BBA, Criminal Justice, Psychology, IT, Healthcare Management & Public Health
  • Over 115 years of delivering quality education and personalized attention to students
  • Provide a range of campus experiences and services online including advising, tutoring, student community, and career services
  • Give students and alumni access to career assistants who help with resumes, cover letters, job hunting, and more.
Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
1 Program(s) Found
  • Designated a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media for the 4th consecutive year.
  • Listed on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in 2013, for the sixth consecutive year
  • Links students to hundreds of training opportunities (beyond their traditional internships and practicum) at their many “partner agencies” in each of their local communities.
  • Accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WUSCUC).
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
1 Program(s) Found
  • Ranked among the Best National Universities in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Ranked 8th among the Best Online Graduate Education Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • A private, co-ed college founded in 1821 and located in downtown Washington, D.C.
  • Its student-faculty ratio is 13:1, and 55.1% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
  • Has distinguished alumni including Senator Harry Reid, former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, and actress Courtney Cox.
Show more [+]
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
3 Program(s) Found
  • Summarize the roles, functions, and impacts of an effective healthcare manager.
  • Evaluate existing research using quantitative statistical tools to assist in healthcare management decision making.
  • Identify, evaluate, and respond to common types of healthcare ethical dilemmas.
  • Describe the value of personal and professional development, community service, and life-long learning in healthcare management.
  • Evaluate the impact of information systems and technology on healthcare processes and the securing of health information.
  • Analyze the strategic impact of human resource development and management on healthcare organizations.
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits

Searching Searching ...

Matching School Ads
5 Program(s) Found
  • Why study nursing at Grand Canyon University?
  • Our bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing are CCNE-accredited and the College of Nursing and Health Care Professions (CONHCP) is approved by the Arizona State Board of Nursing.
  • We provide many options to prepare you to begin or advance your nursing career, including bridge programs and dual degrees.
  • GCU provides a low student-to-teacher ratio and a Christian environment that provides an opportunity for you to embrace a holistic approach to caring for patients.
  • Request more information today about program offerings, CCNE accreditation, start dates, financial aid and more!
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
3 Program(s) Found
  • Average class size is 25, allowing for more one-on-one time with instructors.
  • Has a 97% employment rate among available graduates.
  • All  graduates receive Lifetime Employment  Assistance—free and forever.
  • Michigan's largest independent college.
  • Most instructors are working professionals in the fields they teach.
  • Programs are continuously updated to ensure classes are career-relevant and in sync with what's needed in the industry
Show more [+]
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
5 Program(s) Found
  • Online bachelor's programs include BBA, Criminal Justice, IT, Healthcare Management, Pscyhology & Public Health
  • Over 115 years of delivering quality education and personalized attention to students
Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
1 Program(s) Found
  • Designated a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media for the 4th consecutive year.
  • Listed on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in 2013, for the sixth consecutive year
  • Links students to hundreds of training opportunities (beyond their traditional internships and practicum) at their many “partner agencies” in each of their local communities.
  • Accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WUSCUC).
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
1 Program(s) Found
  • Ranked among the Best National Universities in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Ranked 8th among the Best Online Graduate Education Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • A private, co-ed college founded in 1821 and located in downtown Washington, D.C.
  • Its student-faculty ratio is 13:1, and 55.1% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
  • Has distinguished alumni including Senator Harry Reid, former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, and actress Courtney Cox.
Show more [+]
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits

Login to your account

Can't remember your Password ?

Register for this site!