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How Nurses Can Help End Horizontal Hostility in Three Easy Steps

How Nurses Can Help End Horizontal Hostility in Three Easy Steps

Cindy Mehallow / Monster Contributing Writer

Low satisfaction and morale lead to turnover, which triggers other negative outcomes: The remaining nurses become bitter and resentful, and facilities bear additional costs for orienting new nurses. A 2004 survey by the Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses estimates it costs $30,000 to $50,000 to orient a novice perioperative nurse. Other studies place the cost far higher — as much as twice a nurse’s annual salary.

Step 3: Take Action

Nurses can help defeat the culture of hostility on three levels: personal, unit and organizational. Here’s how:

Speak Up: When hostility becomes an issue in your work environment, “make yourself known,” urges Deborah Mills, BSN, chief nursing officer at Memorial Hospital in Martinsville, Virginia. “Speak to your manager, supervisor or an administrator — anyone who will listen.” In other words: “Speak your truth,” advises Bartholomew, author of a book by that title.

Confront the Offender: Don’t engage in the passive-aggressive behavior of complaining to or involving a third party who can’t resolve the situation. Ask your peer to step away from patients and talk about what’s going on, suggests Barbara Brown, RN, vice president of the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association. Acknowledge the behavior and note differences in skills, but agree that you’re working toward the same goals. Share strengths as a way to help each other gain missing skills.

Make Sure It’s Not You: Check your behavior to make sure you’re not party to the hostility in any way — either as victim, bystander or aggressor.

Arm Yourself: Learn to handle confrontation by reading books like Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High and others suggested by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses’ (AACN) Healthy Work Environment Initiative.

Create Shared Values: Work with colleagues to create a unit philosophy that states shared values and defines acceptable and unacceptable behavior, suggests Bartholomew. Articulate consequences, and hold people accountable for their actions.

Enlist Management’s Support: “Creating a healthy organizational culture has to be a vision that comes from the top,” Mills says. If your hospital hasn’t done so already, encourage it to adopt the standards outlined in the AACN’s Healthy Work Environment Initiative and achieve the American Nursing Association’s Magnet hospital status, which recognizes excellence in nursing services.

Finally, be patient but persistent. Culture change can occur, but it happens slowly.

Originally published on Monster.com

Sound Off! Do Nurses Eat Their Young?


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    MelroseBelleacre

    5 months ago

    2 comments

    I have been a nurse for 22 years, and during that time, I rarely saw horizontal violence in civilian hospitals, but it's a totally different story in the Veteran's Administration hospital. The federal government SHOULD be the model for all other employers, yet they have deeply ingrained hostility and bullying. I have witnessed physical violence between managment toward staff nurses, staff toward management, patients toward nurse and nurse toward patient. The Veteran's hospital also has a 2 year probationary period during which the employee can be terminated without cause, so these issues are rarely brought to management's attention and when they are the person reporting the issues are told "perhaps you don't fit into our culture". I have seen situations where nursing has been abusive to patients, and those witnessing the event were terrified to report it. I am presently waiting for news on my retirement from federal service and I think my exit from nursing as well. This left me emotionally scarred and I have no desire to work with such narcissistic evil people ever again. I doubt that I will seek medical care with the exception of dire emergencies either, because I do not trust the nursing profession and even less the medical profession.

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    nurse6241

    almost 4 years ago

    2 comments

    I have been a nurse for a year. During nursing school I was constantly targeted by instructors. Now that I'm working, I experience much more resistance from coworkers that are not nurses. The bullying that stems from "nurse envy" is worse than from a real nurse. Atleast nurses are educated.

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    losbozos

    over 4 years ago

    4 comments

    Eat our young? No, we don't limit the feeding frenzy to the young. After 25+ years of unblemished career, I've been on medical leave of absence as a result of sabottage, backstabbing, detailed and daily scrutiny. My confidence and nerves are shattered; too scared to even fill out applications for a new job. If any of you think this couldn't happen to you, think again. If you gossip, pass on rumors, watch a collegue for ANY mistake, no matter how small..., stop it right now! It counts and causes harm. You don't see doctors do that to each other in front of nurses. I'd leave nursing if I was younger but can't afford it at this time of my life. Yeah, I know some of the readers will say, "Well, she must have done something wrong to get to this point?". Well, I was written up for using a pink marker on a post-it instead of red. If someone or a clique has it out for you, even the color of your socks may be problem for them.

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    jamessburke

    almost 5 years ago

    2 comments

    Even in nursing school, my friends and I thought that nursing students in general were a bit warped. I have been a nurse for 9 years and I think that the field just attracts emotionally unstable and damaged folks. Enough said

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    gnurjr2

    almost 5 years ago

    2 comments

    My first job out of nursing school, the Manager told me " Nurses are not nice people", we eat our young. That shoud have told me right there not to take the job, but there are very, very few jobs for new grads right now, so I took it. I lasted 2 months. My preceptor nurse told me I was stupid, slow, and made fun of me in front of the other nurses. I took it and took, it. I couldn't sleep or eat. One night I came home and thought I was having a heart attack. I found that the other nurses would not help me, when I asked a question, and a total lack of empathy. Truly a bunch of sick women. I will never forget how I was treated, and the things that were said to me behind closed doors. I resigned, and it has taken me 4 months to find another position. My confidence was knocked down to nothing. I feel sorry for new grads, and the pititul nurses that I was working with at my first job.

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    whitedoginwi

    almost 5 years ago

    6 comments

    I Have found that nurses do eat there young. They call it knowing your place and paying your dues. Nurse also eat each other. That is why there is a nursing shortage. Nurses can not take the anger, hostility and petty little games that go on.

    I myself will not allow myself to the instigator of this type of behavior and I am calling on all nurses out there to stop this behavior and if you are new to not engage in it from the satrt. We as nurses need to pull together, We need to form a sister/brotherhood of nursing professional. we need to stabd together. Not rip each other apart.

    If we, as individual nurses, stop this behavior and don't allow others around us to particiapte in each our young and each other, then it will have to cease. We need to be the caring a compassionate people that lead us to become nurses, in the first place to guide our lives. Use some of that caring and suport for each other. We all be so much happier.

    I have ranted on this topic before. As a student, I was eaten three times and I vowed, I will never eat another person, nurse or otherwise. I ask all nurses to join me in a " no eat campaign".

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    USAFlightMedic

    almost 5 years ago

    86 comments

    Great article I'm actually bookmarking for ref.

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    illbeanurse

    almost 5 years ago

    4 comments

    they don't eat their young but they sure do eat each other!! i thought hairdressers were bad.... I often stand in amazement at the argument between nursing staff and management, especially when there is a peer review over some trivial thing that really did need to be looked at for efficiency sake, or scheduling issues, or IT ALWAYS HAS TO BE SOMETHING. OHHH then there's not on my license you wont...it has caused me to be more selective of who i ask what, who i spend my time with. with all that, there is also inter-unit fighting, the place i am working isnt unlike others i've worked at, seeems to be a running theme. i am from an over educated underemployed lifestyle, (professional student) and nursing is what is coming into my life at this stage of my life.. I am excited about becoming something new again.. a nurse. i will say this about most of what i see and the common denominator in this specific area.. as is with most things that concern a need to be heard, believed and trusted, it is EGO that gets in the way..then pride steps in, i can run down the list of "character defects " , and my life experience REQUIRED that i learn, at some point, how to deal with my insecurities, and "respond" in a manner that is acceptable to those i am with, identify, accept, and even communicate in the face of possible death, I have learned that MY EGO has no place in defense of my self, and that pride, is just another mechanism to avoid admitting i might be wrong.. i realize I might not be making alot of sense, it has been a long few days and rest comes in small bits. but it is worth it, all this drivel just to say, YEAH IT SUCKS, I HATE IT TOO!! and you'd think that people with as much (or little) education as nurses have, that things could be different. i just grew up differently than most it would seem, and i don't make time for that kind of emotional assault in my life., i would rather teach people how to avoid it.. it is truly simple. anyhow MUCH LOVE

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    Ang

    almost 5 years ago

    2 comments

    Sweet! Hgant3 where are you going to work?? Love the attitude!!

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    dwright

    almost 5 years ago

    8 comments

    Wow. I am just entering nursing school and this is ridiculous. Talk about a contradiction - help paitients, but not each other. Sounds too dramatic and a lot of insecurities to deal with. I definitely am not afraid of confrontation or dealing with issues or the drama immediately and effectively as hgant3 mentioned. It will not and should not be tolerated. Ridiculous.

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