Eating Our Young Should Not Be Acceptable: Are You Laterally Violent?


Poster Presentation

Purpose for the Program

Lateral violence has a long history among nurses, and the phrase, “Nurses eat their young” is a true statement and should no longer be taken lightly or as an excuse for demeaning behavior. Lateral violence affects job satisfaction and productivity, patient satisfaction and safety, turnover rate, and reimbursement. Lateral violence should be the antithesis of nursing.

Proposed Change

We are striving to create an environment that promotes each other and that holds everyone accountable for unacceptable behavior. The formation and implementation of an employee contract and a lateral violence policy are in the near future.

Implementation, Outcomes, and Evaluation

The process began by sending a short survey via e-mail to all staff members to test the base knowledge and perception concerning lateral violence. The results of the survey indicated a need for education and intervention. Following the education pieces, posters placed in our units, and a slide presentation, we resurveyed staff to check the effectiveness of our interventions. The results were very positive and our project continues to grow. We are now in the process of implementing suggestions made by the staff concerning accountability, managerial support, and peer involvement. Shared governance is an integral part of the success of this project. We are sharing our presentation, implementation, and evaluation with other units and hospitals in the Baylor system to increase the number of nurses who can benefit.

Implications for Nursing Practice

Nursing is a career built on compassion, and the annihilation of lateral violence would affect nursing profoundly. Nursing is a profession built on mutual respect and teamwork with a common goal of the healing and safety of patients. Another significant advantage is financial benefit, such as the one realized by decreasing the turnover rate. Happier nurses equal happier patients and a safer environment for our patients and their families. We continue to think of new ideas that translate into a win-win situation for our patients, staff, and hospital.