Lateral violence is a form of unethical behavior in nursing and other medical fields. Judging on evidence and statistical data provided in the presentation, it is possible to say that this problem remains more widespread than it should be. There is an urgent need to address the issue of lateral violence in clinical settings since it is highly detrimental to the workplace climate. Moreover, as reported by Nemeth et al. (2017), the Institute of Medicine defines disruptive and inappropriate professional behaviors as one of the main threats to patient safety. Therefore, not only does lateral violence decreases retention rates and job satisfaction but also increases the overall costs of healthcare.
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Nurses should be provided with opportunities to speak up when they or their colleagues are bullied, without fear of bearing any negative consequences of complaining about another person. Unfortunately, reporting may cause more lateral violence in some hospital environments. As the study by Taylor (2016) reveals, nurses often fear to report their colleagues’ mistakes, even when there are critical, because of the fear of reprisal. Some of the interviewed nurses in Taylor’s (2016) study also believed that managers would not provide sufficient support to them if they would complain about staffing and other performance problems. For this reason, practitioners may tend to suppress their concerns and strive to handle everything independently, trying to avoid being labeled as incompetent or as whistle-blowers.
These research findings indicate that the hospital-wide culture of no tolerance for lateral violence is essential to eliminate disruptive behaviors in hospitals. Moreover, nurses should be educated on the essentials of ethical conduct and engage in the development of professional interaction skills. It is possible to presume that in environments where collaboration is a core value and each team member acknowledges their responsibility for own actions, the incidence of lateral violence is minimized.
Nemeth, L. S., Stanley, K. M., Martin, M. M., Mueller, M., Layne, D., & Wallston, K. A. (2017). Lateral violence in nursing survey: Instrument development and validation. Healthcare, 5(3), 33.
Taylor R. (2016). Nurses’ perceptions of horizontal violence. Global Qualitative Nursing Research, 3, 1-9.