• bullying;
  • communication;
  • incivility;
  • lateral violence;
  • nurse turnover;
  • quality improvement;
  • TeamSTEPPS®;
  • verbal abuse

Ceravolo D.J., Schwartz D.G., Foltz-Ramos K.M. & Castner J. (2012) Journal of Nursing Management 20, 599–606

Strengthening communication to overcome lateral violence

Aim  This quality improvement project aims to reduce nurse-to-nurse lateral violence and create a more respectful workplace culture through a series of workshops.

Background  Lateral violence is common and pervasive in nursing, with detrimental physical, psychological and organizational consequences.

Methods  This project describes the organization-wide pre- and post-intervention survey of registered nurses’ perception of lateral violence and turnover.

Results  After the workshop series, nurses who reported experiencing verbal abuse fell from 90 to 76%. A greater percentage of nurses perceived a workplace that was respectful to others and in which it was safe to express opinions. After the workshop series, a greater percentage of nurses felt determined to solve the problem after an incident of lateral violence, while a smaller percentage felt powerless. Nursing turnover and vacancy rates dropped.

Conclusions  Educational workshops that enhanced awareness of lateral violence and improved assertive communication resulted in a better working environment, reduction in turnover and vacancy rates, and reduced incidence of lateral violence.

Implications for nursing management  Nurse managers must raise awareness of lateral violence with individual and organizational consequences. Nursing leadership can effect organizational change to lesson lateral violence and enhance a healthy workplace culture by replicating our intervention or components of our workshops.