Bullying in Nursing

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In a profession where caring is the epicenter of the job, it is disconcerting to see a high occurrence of bullying in the nursing environment. Lateral bullying and lateral violence are terms used to describe bullying, uncivil behavior, disrespect, social devaluing, peer control and verbal, physical and emotional abuse occurring between nurses and or colleagues (Ceravolo et al., 2012). Abusive behaviors from a superior are considered vertical or hierarchal violence and are commonly seen when the superior attempts to control or bully the nurse using their superiority, often leaving the nurse feeling defenseless due to an imbalance in power and control (Broome & Williams-Evans, 2011). Some examples of bullying include harsh criticism, unfairly blaming others for mistakes, and withholding patient care information (Simons et al., 2011). In a recent study measuring workplace bullying, Simons, Stark and DeMarco (2011) found that the most common behaviors those feeling bullied experienced included being assigned workloads they felt were unmanageable, and being ignored or excluded by their peers.
There has been much research done on the prevalence of bullying in the nursing workplace. Smith, Andrusyszyn, and Laschinger (2010) report that up to 90% of nurses encounter bullying in the workplace. Because this has become so commonplace within the nursing environment, many nurses turn a blind eye, or passively participate in bullying, accepting it as a normal occurrence in the workplace
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