Strengthening communication to overcome lateral violence

J Nurs Manag. 2012 Jul;20(5):599-606. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2834.2012.01402.x. Epub 2012 May 4.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Aggression / psychology*
  • Communication*
  • Data Collection
  • Education
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Leadership
  • Organizational Culture*
  • Personnel Turnover
  • Psychometrics
  • Quality Improvement
  • Stress, Psychological
  • Violence / prevention & control*
  • Violence / psychology
  • Workplace / psychology