UW Health,Ambulatory Education,Educational Opportunities,Grand Rounds,Nursing Grand Round Presentation Video Archive 2012,Clinical Grand Rounds 2012,09/25/2012 - Lateral Violence: Stories and Strategies from the Front Line of Health Care,Resources


Handout - UW Health, Ambulatory Education, Educational Opportunities, Grand Rounds, Nursing Grand Round Presentation Video Archive 2012, Clinical Grand Rounds 2012, 09/25/2012 - Lateral Violence: Stories and Strategies from the Front Line of Health Care, Resources

What is Lateral Violence?
Physical, verbal or emotional abuse of another. Often described as nurse to nurse
aggression. Can be between other disciplines as well. Violence is manifested in verbal or
nonverbal behaviors.
Who does it impact?
It can impact anyone. Commonly it impacts outside groups or individuals, newer nurses,
float or traveling nurses, or individuals with poor self esteem. Those with the least real
power or perceived power in the hierarchy are the most vulnerable.

What are the behaviors of someone that is committing lateral violence towards
someone one else?
Typical behaviors are bullying behaviors, withholding information, criticism, sabotaging,
insults, verbal aggression, intimidation, threatening, unreasonable assignments,
ignoring, backstabbing, gossiping, exclusion and denied opportunities.

What are typical behaviors or characteristics of someone who is a victim of lateral
They feel like they are a victim, they may feel powerless, helpless, have increased
anxiety, feel frustrated, be angry, feel excluded from the group and have feelings they
are alone. Often this can affect their ability to provide patient care.

Why is it important to address?
It affects your stress level, your satisfaction, self esteem and professional approach. It
helps to define the work environment that surrounds us. Lateral violence has been
shown to have a negative affect on patient care.

What stance does UWHC take on lateral violence?
Policy 9.27 does address some aspects of these types of behaviors. “UWHC does not
tolerate discourteous or disrespectful conduct by employees in the workplace. This
includes, but is not limited to, disruptive, offensive, intimidating, disrespectful, or other
behaviors that create a risk to the health and safety of employees and patients.”

What resources are there at UWHC to help me if I am a victim or see lateral violence
Resources include the Nurse Manager, fellow RNs, CTLs, CNS’s, Nursing Educators,
supervisors, preceptors, co-workers and Psychiatric CNSs. Human resources.

What specific strategies or ideas are there to stop lateral violence?
Recognize lateral violence, address the behavior, if you see it happening interrupt the
violence, use your resources, and establish a culture of non-tolerance for lateral violence.
Do not allow it to continue. Attempt to break the cycle of lateral violence, if you can not
do it yourself engage your resources to help.
Adapted from M.Griffin, 2004 Center for American Nurses 2007. Psychiatric Clinical Nurse Specialist Program, Sept.2012

Responses and Strategies to Address
Different Types of Lateral Violence and Bullying

Responses to someone bullying you:

Verbal Abuse: (someone is yelling at you in front of others)
I do not like being yelled at in front of others, it sets a bad example for patient,
families and staff. If you need to discuss something in a professional manner we can do
it in a more private area.

Non-Verbal: (rolling eyes, raising eyebrows, feeling someone wants to say something)
I feel there is something you would like to say to me. It is alright if you speak directly to

Arguing with Peers:
This is not the time or the place to discuss this. Please stop. (you may walk away or
move to another more appropriate area).

Overhearing others talking about you.
If there is something that we need to talk about please come to me directly so we can
discuss it.

Responses when you witness lateral violence or bullying

Backstabbing engaging in talking behind others backs.
I do not know the facts of that situation and do not feel comfortable discussing it.

Witnessing yelling: (Presence and addressing the situation gently)
Approach the situation, stand near, ask “Is there something I can help with?” or “Could
we please leave the patient area when discussing this matter.”

Broken Confidences/Gossip:
“That sounds like information that should remain confidential”.

Adapted from M.Griffin, 2004 Center for American Nurses 2007. Psychiatric Clinical Nurse Specialist Program, Sept.2012