When one goes into the profession of nursing it is usually not for the money, job security or the glamour of the job. Those of us who chose nursing as our profession generally care for others and want to make a difference in the world. New nurses are excited to become licensed and to start working in the profession of nursing. When new nurses enter the field of nursing, they are often met with more experienced nurses who have practiced longer and subsequently has more experience. This maybe an opportunity for the new graduate to learn and grow or it can lead to horizontal violence in the work place. Horizontal violence decreases patient safety and job satisfaction drastically.
Horizontal violence is unfortunately not new to the nursing profession. Many ask, what is horizontal violence? It can be defined as the malicious and demeaning behavior towards a colleague (Echevarria, 2013). In nursing, horizontal violence can be between different levels of experienced nurses, unit managers, physicians or a combination of these examples. Unfortunately, physicians are more likely to go unpunished when displaying horizontal violence in the health care setting, because they are viewed as the source of the facilities revenue (Longo & Smith, 2011).
In the authors’ opinion, physicians are no better than the nurses that carry out their orders. Hospitals would not be able to function without the assistance of nurses carrying out the physicians’ orders. From personal experience, the author has witnessed accounts of horizontal violence committed by a physician towards a nurse. He can remember an instance in which a doctor became very upset because he was not notified about a laboratory report on one of his patients. The nurse stated that the lab results were within normal ranges and that he had not requested to be notified of the newly released laboratory report. The physician began screaming and cursing in the middle of the unit. He questioned her education by stating, “where did you go to medical school”. The nurse became really upset and began to cry. The behavior exhibited by the physician iss a textbook example of horizontal violence.
Behaviors of horizontal violence include name calling, spreading rumors and making threats to someone (Echevarria, 2013). These activities may cause mayhem for the victim of horizontal violence and can drastically reduce patient safety. When a nurse is being bullied through horizontal violence, a patients’ safety is put at a great risk of being affected. Effective communication is necessary for nurses to provide safe and reliable care.
According to Purpora and Blegen, approximately 60% of actual errors in patient care result from poor and ineffective communication (para. 3). Horizontal violence causes a decrease in effective communication between caregivers which places the patient’s safety in jeopardy. Horizontal violence decreases staff morale which leaves room for error in the workplace (Longo &...