Peer-to-peer aggression threatens patient care and outcomes

February 24, 2014

Horizontal violence between nurses at the same level of authority is jeopardising patient outcomes, research has revealed.

A study of the phenomenon in a perinatal department at a US hospital found that staff on labour and delivery wards experience hostile behaviour more frequently than those working elsewhere in the same service.

A relationship between horizontal violence and ineffective communication, as well as between horizontal violence and poor patient outcome or near misses, was demonstrated.

Peer-to-peer abuse has been widely documented in fast-paced healthcare environments in other countries.

The study, published in Nursing Management, urges senior nurses and managers to create workplace environments where nurses feel supported to practise their skills without taking out their frustrations or anxieties on colleagues.

The authors recommend developing staffing models that take into account the physically and emotionally demanding aspects of nursing in high-pressured settings, which require advanced critical thinking and specific skillsets.

They conclude that understanding how hostile workplaces can be for some and the effect this can have on patient care and outcomes is critical so that problems can be identified and addressed.

Explore further: Small changes can help health service staff avoid burnout

More information: Nursing Management. 20, 9, 24-30. DOI: 10.7748/nm2014.02.20.9.24.e1098

Related Stories

Small changes can help health service staff avoid burnout

October 22, 2013

A survey of nurses working with older adults across three National Health Service trusts in England explored how perceptions of the workplace affect nurse wellbeing. Standardised validated measures were used to assess burnout, ...

Germany woos Chinese nurses

January 23, 2014

A pilot project unveiled Thursday seeks to attract Chinese nurses to Germany to make up for a staff shortage that is expected to worsen in coming years.

What makes a nurse's day extraordinary

April 22, 2013

A small group of experienced nurses were asked to describe the characteristics of an extraordinary day at work. The one universal theme was 'making a difference'. The authors say it is important for managers to know what ...

Recommended for you

Can nicotine protect the aging brain?

September 20, 2016

Everyone knows that tobacco products are bad for your health, and even the new e-cigarettes may have harmful toxins. However, according to research at Texas A&M, it turns out the nicotine itself—when given independently ...

Science can shape healthy city planning

September 23, 2016

Previous studies have shown a correlation between the design of cities and growing epidemics of injuries and non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. A three-part series published in The Lancet ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.