Letter: Nuse-to-nurse bullying

There is a dangerous problem within our health care institutions that no one is talking about. It is the problem of nurse-to-nurse bullying. Also referred to as lateral violence, it is when one nurse bullies another. This type of bullying is most commonly psychological abuse including intimidation, belittling, ostracizing, facial expressions and the use of dominant body language. It undermines the morale of personnel, erodes professional competence and is responsible for increased sick time.

Workplace bullying has serious consequences to nurses psychological and physical health. It has been shown to correlate to intestinal problems, muscle pain, fatigue, sleep disturbances and hypertension.

Nurse-to-nurse bullying also affects high-quality patient care. Delayed medication administration, medication errors and increased patient falls correlate with bullying.

Nurse-to nurse bullying threatens the integrity of our profession. While I currently work in a job filled with compassionate nurses, I have experienced extensive bullying in several past jobs. I have been shocked at this behavior and appalled that it is allowed to go on.

A profession known for its compassion, which holds patients safety in its hands, has no room for bullies. Our moral and ethical responsibilities to ourselves, each other and our patients demands a zero-tolerance policy to address the problem of nurse-to-nurse bullying.



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