Lateral Violence Essay

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Lateral Violence in Nursing
With every industry and profession, most newly hired employees experience some form of hostility from colleagues in the workplace. Such hostility comes in a variety of forms, ranging from overt antagonism to nonverbal condescending gestures. This form of hostility in the workplace is called lateral violence. Lateral violence is a very common occurrence, so much so that most people consider it as a rite of passage that every new employee must suffer and overcome. The health care sector is no exception to this form of violence, and in fact, it is an increasingly growing and challenging problem. This treatment by a colleague in the caring profession is damaging to the nurses themselves, the patients, and the workplace.
Although lateral violence can occur in various types of workplaces, it is especially harmful and dangerous when it takes place in the nursing field. The care of sick individuals is hard and stressful work. Nurses spend long hours attempting to meet the needs of, not only the patient, but the families and colleagues as well. This often causes nurses to be fatigued, sleep deprived, malnourished and dehydrated. The presence of lateral violence in this already difficult and stressful workplace can be detrimental to the nurse’s health. For nurses who are targets of this behavior, lateral violence can lead to a wide range of physical and emotional symptoms, including depression, stress, insomnia, headaches, panic attacks, and in extreme cases, suicide.
Lateral violence between nurses has many repercussions in any health care working environment. However, one of the major effects is the decreased quality of care for patients. Lateral violence discourages communication and teamwork efforts, which in turn, leads to a lack of coordination at work and poor decision making. According to Russell (2012), “the consequences of lateral

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