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Nursing: A Toxic Environment Essay

1126 words - 5 pages

The profession of nursing is presumed compassionate and caring; however, nursing can be a toxic environment for the nursing student, the novice nurse as well as the experienced nurse. History shows that nurses have been subjected to physical, verbal, and emotional abuse simply related to the nature of the job. A major source of the verbal abuse comes from patients, families, physicians, other healthcare disciplines and sadly other nurses. Nurse on nurse abuse is also called horizontal violence. Horizontal violence is defined as a consistent hidden pattern of behavior in which the perpetrator inflicts control, diminishes, or devalues peers or groups which endangers their health or safety. Bullying is defined as a threat to a professional status, threat to personal standing, isolation, overworking, placing undue pressure upon, or failure to give credit for an achievement (Hinchberger, 2009). Research on horizontal violence has shown that such abuse is destructive and threatens the existence of a supposed caring and nurturing profession especially when the bully is a nurse. This paper will focus on the research reviewed concerning horizontal violence and bullying as well as how these issues affect the nurse's health and wellness, patient safety, quality of care, and nursing shortages.
Horizontal violence in the nursing profession is not a new phenomenon and usually preserved for nursing students and novice nurses; however, seasoned nurses may experience this same abuse. An article put out by the American Nurses Association (ANA) in "The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing" (OJIN) documented in the study that bullying typically lasts longer than six months and may last for years (Rocker, 2008). Individuals that suffer prolonged workplace violence are at risk for various forms of negative consequences including "isolation, fear, and/or stress related illnesses or commit suicide" (Rocker, 2008, para. 11). The negative ramifications also affect the nurse's self-esteem, job satisfaction, morale, patient care, productivity, and an increase in errors. The victims of bullying are targeted and labeled as less intelligent and less capable of performing the standard norms, which keeps the focus on the victim and off the perpetrator normalizing the bully's behavior. This is especially true for large organizations with formal, lengthy decision-making policies, which provide a safe haven for the bully who goes virtually unnoticed by management (Rocker, 2008). Horizontal violence and workplace bullying are not rare occurrences.
The prevalence of nurse on nurse violence is staggering. A cross-sectional study conducted in Turkey "Bullying Among Nurses and its Effects" by D. Yildirim used a sample method containing a five-part questionnaire which included common bullying behaviors, age, education level of nurse, years of experience, years at current facility, workload, effects of exposure to bullying, and depression correlating to the bullying events. The...

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