Lateral violence has been defined as misplaced violence. It is violence that is targeted at the wrong person. One directs such violence to their equals rather than their subordinates or superiors thus the use of the word lateral or horizontal violence. Lateral violence can either be physical, psychological or even emotional or at times, a combination of all the three. Various groups of persons are prone to lateral violence either as perpetrators or victims. One such group of persons is nurses. There is thus need for educating nursing students on lateral violence. The main rationale underlying the choosing of nursing students as the audience for lateral violence education is because the field in which they ultimately aspire to practice can be very stressful at times. It can be stressful due to numerous factors, including others that are beyond the nurses but which nevertheless affect them. Such factors could include the fact that they interact with human beings who experience all types of emotions right from utter despair when at the point of death or sheer bliss when a sick patient recovers from a possibly life threatening illness.
Additionally, other personnel who work with nurses in the hospital such as doctors may cause the nurses very much stress. The nurses may subsequently mete out lateral violence against their fellow nurses because the power relations in the hospitals cannot allow them to vent out their frustrations to the doctor. After all, there is a silent rule in many medical institutions that the doctor is always superior to the nurse. By selecting nursing students as the audience for lateral education, they will be armed with the necessary skills to deal with the causative factors of lateral violence once they get into the field of nursing. They will be equipped early enough with skills on how to avert lateral violence by ensuring that they themselves are not victims or perpetrators of lateral violence. The second rationale is relatively straightforward. The nursing students are being trained about what generally happens in the vocation of nursing. They are being equipped with the necessary skills to attend to patients. It only follows that it is also fair that they be equipped with skills on how to interact with their fellow nurses. This is especially due to the fact that nursing is among the professions that are at high risk of being perpetrators or victims of lateral violence.
It is universally acknowledged that experience is the best teacher. However, perhaps in the case of the education of nursing students on lateral violence, there may be a need for a modification of this famous saying. Perhaps it should read that while experience may be the best teacher, this is not the case in all subjects. Indeed, in some subjects, such as lateral violence, experience would be the worst teacher. If the nursing students were to learn about lateral violence through on the job experience, this may likely result in more harm than good. It is the need to avert this scenario that underlies the rationale for using a classroom setting to instruct nursing students about lateral violence. The classroom setting allows the nursing students to learn about lateral violence from the experience of others. They are thus better placed and better equipped to deal with instances of lateral violence that may occur during their nursing career. They will also be in a position to better handle situations where they themselves are the victims of lateral violence.
It is important that they acquire these skills beforehand as statistics indicate that over fifty percent of nursing students have been victims of lateral violence. These research findings provide much persuasive authority and vindicate the use of a classroom setting to instruct nursing students about the issue of lateral violence. It can hardly be expected that with such worrying statistics, the students will be able to get training on lateral violence in the actual hospital environment. As the statistics suggest, in the hospital they are more likely to be the victims of lateral violence rather be educated on it. While that may also be a form of learning, it is hardly the ideal form of learning. Using a classroom setting to instruct the nursing students on lateral violence will yield far much better results in the long run than letting them (nursing students) learn about lateral violence by experiencing it firsthand.
It is the desire of every person whether an employer or employee to have a healthy working environment. A healthy working environment envisages an environment where individuals are able to work without any hazards to their wellbeing, be it physical, psychological or otherwise. A healthy working environment is important due to a number of reasons. The reasons may broadly be classified into two categories namely those that are beneficial to the organization or institution and those that are beneficial to the worker.
A healthy working environment may be beneficial to the organization or institution as it will enable them to first and foremost, attract qualified and talented people to work in the organization or institution. There are many attendant benefits that accrue to an institution which has in its ranks talented persons but that shall not be the subject of this submission. Secondly, an organization which provides a healthy working environment for its workers will be able to have highly productive workers. The high productivity will be as a result of high levels of morale which may be directly or indirectly attributed to a healthy working environment. For the worker, a healthy working environment enables him to have peace of mind as he goes about his duties. This is because he or she is assured that the environment in which they work is secure. In addition, they will not be exposed to or subjected to any incidences that may affect the performance of their work. A worker who is provided with a healthy working environment is also unlikely to experience high levels of stress at the work place. This in turn enables them to be more productive and focus on providing services as well growing their careers. A healthy working environment has profound implications to the field of nursing. First and foremost, the work of a nurse by its very nature can be extremely stressing. However, at the same time, nurses are expected to musk any feelings of frustration that they have and attend to patients as professionally as possible.
A healthy working environment goes a great deal in reducing the stressful nature of the work of a nurse. In addition, there are certain professions that require a great deal of teamwork and cooperation among all persons concerned. Nursing is one such profession. For nurses to effectively discharge their duties there is a need to ensure that the environment in which they work enables them to freely interact with doctors, fellow nurses and other persons involved in the activities of the hospital. This is can arguably only be attained where there is a healthy working environment. Indeed, the consequences of the lack of a healthy working environment for nurses may be too grave to bear. It may be the case that the presence of such a healthy working environment may be a matter of life or death. Lest one forgets, the reference is to a healthy working environment in a hospital.
Any form of violence is usually accompanied by various safety implications. Instances of lateral violence in the workplace are no exception. Lateral violence can have serious safety implications especially in the nursing field. The implications can be both on the organization or the individual worker. For instance, in the case of a nurse in a hospital, lateral violence may have serious implications on their health. Prolonged exposure to lateral violence may lead to such nurses developing hypertension due to the stress that is associated with lateral violence especially where one is the victim. Lateral violence may also have very adverse effects on the life of an individual. It actually has safety implications in their lives as in the long run, it may lead to persons who have been the subject of lateral violence committing suicide. Lateral violence among the nursing staff or any other staff of an organization or an institution may have serious implications on the overall workplace safety. Research has shown that nurses who are the victims of lateral violence pose a great risk to the patients they attend to. This is because they may be so severely affected by their own suffering from the lateral violence that they offer a much lower quality of service to patients. The safety implication in this scenario is that it is the quality of care provided by a nurse that at times may determine whether a patient will make a full recovery or degenerate into a worse state. Indeed, the quality of care provided may at times be the difference between life and death.
A further safety implication that may be associated with lateral violence in the workplace is the risk of physical injuries to the workers. This scenario may especially arise in lateral violence instances which involve physical violence. The workers involved in the physical violence run the risk of injuring each other or even injuring themselves. The situation may even get out of hand where the lateral violence takes the form of physical violence, but which instead of pitting one individual against another, pits one group of workers against another. In addition to running a great risk to the workers involved, such violence also puts other workers who are not involved in the violence in great danger. It is thus incumbent upon all organizations and institutions and especially those in which the nursing profession is domiciled, to take all the necessary steps to ensure they avert any incidences of lateral violence that may arise.
Dellasega, C. (2009). Bullying Among Nurses. American Journal of Nursing, 52-58.
Hughes, N. (2009). Bullies in HealthCare Beware. American Journal of Nursing, 35.
Longo, J. (2009). Horizontal Violence Among Nursing Students. Archives of Psychiatric Nursing, 177-178.