Lateral Violence in the Nursing Workplace


Healthcare professionals should exhibit desirable values and traits that can make it easier for them to achieve their aims. The wellbeing of nurses and caregivers is something essential if they are to transform the health outcomes of their patients. More often than not, challenges, abuses, and disagreements tend to arise in different healthcare settings, thereby affecting the quality of medical services. Lateral violence (LV) is an outstanding example of such problems whereby specific nurses engage in or demonstrate harmful and deliberate behaviors to their colleagues. The purpose of this paper is to give a detailed analysis of this issue and apply it to nursing practice.

Topic Analysis


LV remains a major predicament affecting the performance, outcomes, and experiences of both nurses and patients. Sanner-Stiehr and Ward-Smith (2017) define it as any form of disruptive behavior that a given professional or employee demonstrates to another in the same or lesser job position. Although such malpractices might appear harmless at the beginning, chances are high that they will eventually become aggressive and result in injuries.

History and Background

The idea behind the concept of LV is believed to have been informed by the problems of slavery and colonialism. Clark and Augoustinos (2015) argue that “lateral violence originated from early theorists in Africa and Latin America” (p. 20). The challenges associated with colonialism were oppressive and made it possible for more people to achieve their potential. Within the past two decades, this idea has become useful in analyzing the problems many nurses have to go through. LV resonates with bullying and abuse in the clinical setting. This malpractice has been associated with injuries, psychological effects, and disorientation.

Major Concepts

LV remains a complex term that professionals can consider from different perspectives and apply various concepts. Firstly, wellbeing defines this topic clearly since affected persons will be unable to pursue their aims. Secondly, emotional maltreatment is usually associated with any form of LV (Bambi et al., 2018). Thirdly, exploitation is a unique concept that outlines the problems many nurses have to go through. Fourthly, responsibility dictates the behaviors and actions that have the potential to transform organizational practices and support the delivery of high-quality services.

Function in Nursing Practice

The selected topic is essential in the field of nursing since it informs evidence-based strategies for improving peer relations and care delivery. The first role selected for this discussion is that of bedside nurse. This professional can take the issue of LV seriously to identify any form of abuse from colleagues and report any questionable incident to the relevant authorities (Bambi et al., 2018). The occurrence of this kind of violence will affect care delivery and make it impossible for the targeted patient to record positive health outcomes. An informed bedside nurse will act diligently, respect others, and foster cohesion.

The second nursing role is that of a public health nurse. This professional will be willing to avoid any form of abuse or misbehavior against fellow workmates. Those who experience LV will not meet the needs of the targeted community members (Rainford, Wood, McMullen, & Philipsen, 2015). The introduction of this topic will encourage more public health nurses to focus on their clients’ goals, support one another, and achieve their potential. The third group of nursing professionals is that of unit managers. Those in this position will consider the dangers of LV and implement evidence-based initiatives to prevent it. For example, they will introduce superior policies, collaborate with their followers, and solve existing differences.

Personal Practice and Growth

The selected topic describes a unique problem that continues to make it impossible for many nurses to work effectively and transform their patients’ health outcomes. In my personal practice, I believe that the issue of LV can become a powerful guideline for empowering me to engage others, solve emerging problems, and promote cohesion. It will be appropriate to avoid abusing others and encourage them to address problems amicably. I will go further to encourage my unit leader to consider the importance of implementing superior processes and policies that will address this problem (Rainford et al., 2015). This means that my understanding of this subject and its potential consequences will inform a philosophy change and ensure that the concepts of teamwork and collaboration emerge in my unit.

The studied materials and topics in class have improved my skills and competencies regarding the issue of LV. Firstly, I now understand that any form of abuse, oppression, or disempowerment against colleagues in the same job position is erroneous. This knowledge will continue to support my current and future career goals. Secondly, I have appreciated the notion of teamwork since it minimizes the level disagreements, thereby making it possible for patients to achieve their aims (Sanner-Stiehr & Ward-Smith, 2017). Thirdly, the ideas of effective communication, problem-solving approaches, and decision-making initiatives are essential since they guide nurses to overcome the predicaments of LV.

Fourthly, I am now aware that effective leadership is essential since it has the potential to reduces cases of LV and ensure that emerging issues are addressed in a timely manner. These attributes reveal that I now understand the dangers of LV and how it affects patient outcomes (Rainford et al., 2015). The most important action plans for me include addressing LV using evidence-based strategies and guiding nurses to collaborate and respect one another.

Strengths, Weaknesses, Personal opportunities, and Threats

Many professionals focus on the best strategies to improve or transform their careers and eventually emerge successful. There are specific strengths that will support my professional goals. The first one is that I have acquired new ideas regarding the importance of LV. The second strength is that I am a team player and focus on the anticipated objectives. The third one is that I know how to solve problems and collaborate with my colleagues effectively. The fourth strength is my ability to remain charismatic, apply an appropriate leadership philosophy, and guide others (Sanner-Stiehr & Ward-Smith, 2017). Some weaknesses can make it impossible for me to pursue my career aims effectively. Some good examples include the lack of a proper understanding of the potential causes of LV and the absence of adequate culturally competent skills. These attributes or examples explain why I am unable to relate positively with people from different cultures or groups.

The major opportunities include the presence of many publications and books that can empower me to deal with the problem of LV. I have also been engaging in lifelong learning to acquire additional ideas for pursuing my objectives and overcoming work-related violence. I have been considering additional ideas that have the potential to support my objectives and create desirable working environments. There are specific threats that can make it impossible for me to advance my career. Firstly, LV is a major challenge that makes it impossible for nurses to relate positively and record improved job satisfaction (Bambi et al., 2018). Secondly, there are ineffective strategies to overcome the challenges many nurses face in their respective units. Thirdly, the problems of national nursing shortage and prolonged working hours remain unaddressed, thereby making it possible for more professionals to engage in undesirable behaviors and malpractices that can disorient career advancement.

Three Traits

Successful leaders in the field of nursing should possess specific traits that will make it easier for them to achieve their potential. Firstly, conflict resolution is a powerful attribute since it empowers such professionals to identify problems, malpractices, and misbehaviors before they can get out of hand. This skill will empower them to promote teamwork and address existing differences, thereby minimizing the level of LV. Secondly, integrity is a powerful trait that guides nurses to remain honest and promote strong moral values or principles. They will encourage their followers to do what is right always and stop oppressing their colleagues. Thirdly, communication skills are essential attributes for every leader in the healthcare field. These professionals will listen to others attentively and eventually promote fairness. Personally, I believe that the possession of these attributes will guide more nurse leaders to advocate for their patients’ rights.


The above discussion has identified LV as a major challenge affecting both nurses and patients. Different professionals should be aware of this issue in attempt to overcome it and focus on the best health outcomes. The implementation of a powerful growth strategy founded on the current strengths and opportunities will ensure that many workplaces get rid of LV. The end result is that more nurses will develop superior traits and eventually deliver exemplary services to more patients.


Bambi, S., Foà, C., De Felippis, C., Lucchini, A., Guazzini, A., & Rasero, L. (2018). Workplace incivility, lateral violence and bullying among nurses. A review about their prevalence and related factors. Acta Biomedica, 89(6), 51-79. Web.

Clark, Y., & Augoustinos, M. (2015). What’s in a name? Lateral violence within the Aboriginal community in Adelaide, South Australia. The Australian Community Psychologist, 27(2), 19-34.

Rainford, W. C., Wood, S., McMullen, P. C., & Philipsen, N. D. (2015). The disruptive force of lateral violence in the health care setting. The Journal for Nurse Practitioners, 11(2), 157-164. Web.

Sanner-Stiehr, E., & Ward-Smith, P. (2017). Lateral violence in nursing: Implications and strategies for nurse educators. Journal of Professional Nursing, 33(2), 113-118. Web.