- Describe the phenomenon of later violence or bullying in the nursing profession and give examples
- Discuss some theories that offer casual explanations of bullying
- Describe the physical and psychological toll bullying takes on nurses
- List recommendations whereby bullying behaviors might be reduced or eliminated
This session is recommended for all healthcare personnel.
Dr. John Banja is a professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine and a medical ethicist at the Center for Ethics at Emory University. He also directs the Section on Ethics for the Atlanta Clinical and Translational Science Institute at Emory. Dr. Banja has conducted research and educational projects with numerous federal and private organizations. He currently serves as the editor of the American Journal of Bioethics-Neuroscience. His research interests include patient safety, neuroethics and ethical dilemmas occurring in clinical and translational research. His most recent book, Medical Errors and Medical Narcissism, was published in 2005. John has no real or perceived conflicts of interest that relate to this presentation.
Lateral violence or “bullying” among health professionals but especially among nurses is thought to be a very common phenomenon. It is typically characterized by senior level or veteran nurses abusing nurses who occupy lesser positions of power in the organizational hierarchy. Nurses who claimed they were bullied have reported unrelenting condemnation of their work; consistently being given difficult assignments; and even feeling their careers were being actively conspired against by other nurses.
The toll this takes on nursing personnel and their health care organizations can be considerable. The literature reports that bullied nurses frequently suffer serious psychological and physical damage; their care of patients might be compromised; and their quitting their positions can result in considerable financial loss to their clinics and hospitals who have to spend money to recruit their replacements.
This presentation will survey the nursing literature examining the nature and suggested causes of lateral violence in nursing; its personal and organizational effects or repercussions; and conclude with some suggestions that seek to remediate the problem.