What Is Lateral Violence Within The Nursing Profession?

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Teamwork, collaboration, and empowerment are descriptive terms that many current and future nurses expect to be incorporated within their working environment. It is not unusual for nurses to work as a team with other health care professionals as well as one another to provide the best care for a patient. Therefore, one would think that a primary goal among nurses would in fact be collaboration. Yet, as a general step towards attacking all types of violence, many researchers have exposed violence in the healthcare setting. Also referred to as workplace bullying, lateral violence, is a specific type of workplace violence that is exceedingly present in the nursing profession. Lateral violence could be considered an antonym of the terms spoken…show more content…
This specific definition of lateral violence is preferred over others because it does not single out relationships between those of different rank or hierarchy. The deliberate and harmful behavior used in this definition can take many forms. In nursing, it can be seen as unintentional, thoughtless acts to purposeful intentional, destructive acts meant to harm, intimidate or humiliate another group or individual (Sincox & Fitzpatrick, 2008). Lateral violence can be verbal, physical, and psychological as well. This definition of LV and its many forms will be used consistently throughout this paper. Prevalence/Severity of Lateral Violence Literature that investigates the rates of lateral violence has confirmed that LV has been and currently still is prevalent in the nursing profession. A survey taken during the Upstate AHEC Lateral Violence Among Nurses Project by Jacobs and Kyzer (2010) revealed that 93 percent of nurses have witnessed lateral violence among coworkers, while 85 percent have been a victim of lateral violence. As can be seen by these percentages, lateral violence in nursing is very real and affects many of those who are identified as a nurse. Although these statistics are informative, it is critical to remember that they do not capture all incidents of LV in the nursing profession. Since these statistics come from reported incidents of lateral violence in nursing, there may be additional incidents that were not reported. Therefore, the rates of
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