Lateral Violence and Bullying in Nursing

24 January, 2014 § Leave a comment

JoAnne, RN has written an excellent article about lateral violence and bullying in nursing and how we can deal with mistakes in a way that builds the profession instead of tearing down our fellow nurses and ancillary staff.  Take the time to read the article here, it is worth it.

Sadly, I have seen lateral violence among nurses and bullying from nurses to ancillary staff, luckily this was mostly in nursing school and environments outside of work.  Sadly, I have also been on the receiving end of said lateral violence.  Nursing is not the only profession that this happens in and before I was a RN I was a clinician in the mental health field.  I imagine this exists in any place where there is a power dynamic at play.

In my own experience, I am pretty good at standing up for myself and when I have been the victim of lateral violence and/or bullying, I immediately called them out on the behavior and justified why I did something based on my professional opinion.  I am always open to constructive criticism, both when I worked in mental health and as a nurse, but outright ridicule or remarks said to others, in a loud manner, that is meant to demean or call into question my abilities, is never acceptable.  I admit, there have been times when I did not always do this, but at this point I try and I hope my fellow nurses do the same.

When we, as nurses, see bullying we must also make it our reaponsibility to stop the bullying immediately.  Just as it is not acceptable for it to happen to us, it is also not acceptable for it to happen to others and we must attempt to end it when we see it.

Now here is the hard part: fixing mistakes and stopping violence and bullying while not engaging in the same violence and bullying ourselves but by coming from a place of compassion, understanding, patience, and teaching.

Have you ever been the victim of lateral violence or bullying? Have you witnessed lateral violence or bullying? What did you do? How can we, as a profession, address this issue?

-Anthony

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