Drawing attention to nurse-on-nurse violence

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A group of New York nurses have published an article about nurse intimidation and bullying. The article, The Prevalence of Horizontal Violence in New York State Registered Nurses, appeared in the journal of the New York State Nurses Association fall/winter 2009-2010 issue.

Discussed in the article is the issue of horizontal violence (sometimes called lateral violence) which is defined as non-physical hostility within a group of peers. It may include sabotage, infighting, backstabbing, excluding and frequent criticisms. The oft-cited problem of “nurses eating their young” is one form of horizontal violence.

While the causes of horizontal violence have been debated for some time (with some researchers attributing it to nurses’ oppressed status), no one doubts the existence of nurse-on-nurse violence — or the fact that it severely undermines morale and work satisfaction.

Think you could recognize this behavior if you saw it? Time to test yourself.

Okay, we admit. The below video does not have Steven Spielberg-level editing quality, but the scenarios are so compelling we just had to share.

Watch the video and tell us: Could you recognize horizontal violence if you saw it on your unit?

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Jennifer Fink, RN, BSN

Jennifer is a professional freelance writer with over eight years experience as a hospital nurse. She has clinical experience in adult health, including med-surg, geriatrics and transplant; she also has a particular interest in women’s health and cancer care. Jennifer has written a variety of health and parenting articles for national publications.

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5 Responses to Drawing attention to nurse-on-nurse violence

  1. Rowena C. De Mesa

    Keeping the work environment healthy and working as a team benefits the patient and the staff themselves. Competency Skills Training among new nurses is the solution to their incompetence. Teaching the new ones, they may sometimes forget. Instructing the new ones, they may not follow, but involving the new ones will make them learn the new things… Choose among the characters are we… there is always room for a change towards a healthy team… Godbless…

  2. Freedom from Opression

    Working in an environment which is stress free makes a lot of difference. Everything will flow smooth and at the productivity of a nurse will be maximized.. I experienced already to work in an area with an insecure co-workers who always find fault from everyone.. It was a horrible experience, I would always come home with a heavy feeling, the frustration didn’t only resulted to depression but it even tranformed into somatic symptoms like headache, palpitation and dizziness. I was in a hell before I should say. But now, luckily I was able to move into a hospital with friendly superior and staff…
    The sad part of this problem is that the ones that are being bullied receives a lot of pressure from the “bully nurse” (who is an expert in throwing stories which are oftentimes fabricated just to destroy and grind other who fights against them) the moment the poor nurse goes into the Director’s office.. To those who can stand up and fight, this is not a problem, but how about those poor nurses who can’t? What a tragedy for them..

  3. Great video. I’ve been bullied worse than that.

  4. Your name

    I was bullied to the point I did not work for a year in nursing due to clinical depression. I am now getting the courage to get back out there and help heal the sick!

    • jnbllw7 APN

      my last job I was bullied by a male nurse on night shift .,.I went to administrators head because It got so bad ..no one cared ..so I went to district office the was fired ..I havent worked for over a year for depression and anxiety ..no one cared to hear me out..Im still angry with thesde peopole

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