Nurses have been notorious over time as the profession that “eats their young.” Over the years experienced nurses have treated new nurses harshly until those new nurses have proved themselves capable of performing their jobs. It happened to me. Not by all the older nurses, but there were a few.
Over time this practice has decreased, but other forms of aggressive behaviors have been occurring. Even those these actions have decreased, the American Nurses Association has taken a stance on the issue, and have given it a name, lateral violence.
This type of violence is basically from nurse to nurse. It can be physical or verbal violence, what it is, is when one nurse makes another nurse feel threatened.
I was asked by another nurse if legal action can be taken against another nurse because of verbal abuse. I don’t know anything about that, I am a nurse, not an attorney, and that is a question for an attorney. What I can say is, if you feel threatened in any way that is something that needs to be taken to your manager immediately. It also needs to be addressed by your organizations Human Resources department, Employee Services or even legal.
Lateral violence is a real and serious issue that our profession needs to address and we as heart nursing need to put an end to. If you see somebody mistreating another nurse, new or experienced, it is your responsibility to step in and stop the behavior. We get mistreated enough from physicians, families, patients and other departments; we shouldn’t be doing it to ourselves.
Rob Cameron is currently a staff nurse in a level II trauma center. He has primarily been an ED nurse for most of his career, but he has also been a nurse manager for Surgical Trauma and Telemetry unit. He has worked in Med/Surg, Critical Care, Hospice, Rehab, an extremely busy cardiology clinic and pretty much anywhere he's been needed.
Prior to his career in nursing, Rob worked in healthcare finance and management. Rob feels this experience has given him a perspective on nursing that many never see. He loves nursing because of all the options he has within the field. He is currently a grad student working on an MSN in nursing leadership, and teaches clinicals at a local university.
Away from work, Rob spends all of his time with his wife and daughter. He enjoys cycling and Crossfit. He is a die hard NASCAR fan. Sundays you can find Rob watching the race with his daughter.
By Rob Cameron