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Nursing Essay Example: Definition of Lateral Violence and Bullying

6 pages
1443 words
University of Richmond
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Lateral violence in professional nursing occurs when nurses who are victims of a situation of dominance redirect their anger and rage towards each other rather than the system of oppression. Its major forms take the verbal affront, infighting, activities which are undermining and the information which is withheld. On the other hand, bullying is the persistent intimidating, offensive, insulting and malicious behavior with the aim of making the recipient feel upset, vulnerable and humiliated (Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses, 2008). It (bullying) undermines the self-confidence of the nurses and subjects them to emotional distress. In some scenarios, the impact may advance to the patients or other employees working within the healthcare environment. The behaviors are, therefore, considered as toxic to the nurses and have negative effects, particularly on the quality of service and the retention extent staff. Therefore, there exists a need for the healthcare institutions to formulate policies and laws that guard against disruptive behavior and activities with the inclusion of the code of conduct and interventions on behavior to help nurses address the topical concerns.

It is important to realize that conditions which lead to bullying in the nursing practice are based on the lack of a disciplinary system for the nurses to rely on in the event of any challenge. The healthcare facilities are mostly concerned with the provision of medical care to the patients and have little concern to those offering the service. The situation, therefore, leaves the nurses with little option of intervention whenever they are faced with cases of bullying. The style of management of most of the healthcare organizations also serves as a major contributor to the issue. Most healthcare institutions are managed by the health managers or directors who are the major players of lateral violence. They have little regard for the nurses and in most cases take on the supervisory role instead of acting as role models to other health practitioners. They are, therefore, feared by their juniors, instead, of commanding respect. Nurses also experience high and increasing workload hence inefficacy regarding the manner in which they discharge their duties.

Second Part

Nevertheless, it is also possible for people with different learning styles and work behavior to participate effectively in the same care system. A care system consists of different types of people; there are the integrative, strategic and idea-oriented individuals and the expressive, supportive and emotional oriented. Some care systems may also have the analytic, logical and data-oriented individuals and the detailed, organized and focused workers. These people have different learning and working styles and may, therefore, be of the benefit or detriment of the care system. One of the ways of ensuring that they work as a team involves taking note of the workflow style in the team members. The workflow will allow the assessment of their manner of operation and provide a starting point for ironing the differences in the styles of learning and operation. The second issue is based on the leverage of the leaning and work styles strengths. It will be easier to assign the individuals tasks based on their ability noted in the workflow assessment. For example, the workers who are expressive and emotionally oriented will help the health facility in building teamwork with other health professionals and ensuring the existence of healthy relationships (Center for American Nurses, 2008). The other concern is on ensuring the representation of every learning and work style. The representation will enable every person find an area of specialization and contribute to the achievement of the primary objective. Other considerations may also be based on the provision of good leadership skills that is inclusive of every worker and breeding a healthy working environment that embraces diversity and appreciates the differences in the learning and working styles. Care systems should, therefore, ensure that they use the different styles that exist for their good. In some cases, they may be disadvantageous if proper care is not taken during the first stage of workflow assessment. Wrong assessment will automatically affect other measures put in place hence wrong results in the care systems.

Third Part

It is also worth noting that lateral violence plays a role in contributing to issues with the safety of patients and matters revolving effectiveness in communication. Further elaborations reveal that this kind of violence may be manifested in the form of mockery, intimidating behaviors, insults and the use of condescending language, sabotage, not considering the opinions of other people and the establishment of targets which are not achievable within a limited period. It may, therefore, contribute to issues with patients safety and effective communication because it first interferes with the health of nurses and subjects them to a situation of staff turnover and attrition and a to larger extent make them suffer from psychological distress. The patients safety becomes threatened considering that the people who are supposed to administer medical procedures are not in their normal and most productive state. The nurses who are victims of lateral violence may decide to treat the patients the same way their seniors treat them and even bully them on some occasions (Harris & Smith, 2014). Patients who need urgent and proper medication may end up losing their lives due to wrong diagnosis and improper medical care.

Chances of the wrong diagnosis may be contributed by the reduction in efficacy regarding the services being offered by the nurses. Effective communication may also interfere with both from the patients and nurses side. The patients may find it difficult communicating to nurses who pay less attention and in most cases are rude and not taking their concerns seriously. The situation may contribute to the high mortality rate in most hospitals since the good rapport between the nurses, and the patients are already destroyed. The nurses may also not be able to communicate effectively based on the hostile environment of operation. The discussed concerns justify the need for the formulation of policies and laws which can guarantee safety to both the patients and the nurses. The impacts of lateral violence and bullying have got far-reaching effects to the nurses, the patients, and the healthcare institutions. Some of the steps which can be taken by the nurses to mitigate lateral violence and bullying are by recognizing their existence at an early stage and taking appropriate legal action before the impact advances. They can also take advantage of a complaint system that guarantees confidentiality to channel cases of lateral violence and bullying (Harris & Smith, 2014). It is important to recognize that nurses play nearly a central role in the health systems. Therefore, their stability in the medical practice must be guaranteed for the patients to receive quality medical care and at large with the realization of success by the medical institution. Most importantly, they should take note of the available procedures and policies that are related to lateral violence and bullying to take the appropriate action. Lastly, they should seek legal assistance with detailed evidence of the event. The evidence should be in documented form with the inclusion of the date, site of occurrence and the witnesses.

In summary, lateral violence and bullying as argued exist as a major concern in the nursing profession. The drawn impact the nurses negatively and breed unconducive atmosphere for work. The environment may thus interfere with the kind of medical care administered to the patients, a situation which translates to the existence of high mortality rate in most hospitals. It is important to realize that the second part of the assignment also elaborated on how people with different learning and working styles can operate under same care system. Some of the ways included the assessment of workflow and leverage of every persons strength. Other ways were based on including the different styles in the entire process of the care system to enable every worker to operate effectively in their areas of specialization. It is also true that lateral violence stands the chance of interfering with the patients safety and effective communication due to the concerns which were raised earlier. It is, therefore, necessary for the government and healthcare heads to develop a framework which will guard against and mitigate chances of both lateral violence and bullying in professional nursing.


Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses (2008). Workplace Bullying and Lateral Violence among Nurses. Healthy Practice Environment Advocacy Guide. Retrieved from for American Nurses. (2008). Lateral Violence and Bullying in the Workplace. Retrieved from H. & Smith C.J. (2014). Workplace Bullying in Nursing. Advance Healthcare Network. Retrieved from

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