Horizontal violence (HV), or nonphysical intergroup conflict expressed in overt and covert behaviors of hostility, is pervasive in nursing and has been discussed in the literature for more than two decades. It is costly and has potentially devastating effects including high nurse turnover rates, increased illness, decreased productivity, and decreased quality of patient care. Recognizing how these behaviors are established and sustained is necessary if nurses are to overcome these types of behaviors. This mixed methods study used an online survey to examine 76 hospital nurses' experiences and responses to episodes of HV as well as its effects on job performance. Seven of these nurses answered more in‐depth questions during a follow‐up interview. Nurses in this study recognize HV as a phenomenon that occurred early in their careers as novice nurses. The literature suggests that these behaviors are evident during nursing education. The academic environment is an ideal place to teach the skills necessary to respond appropriately to HV with peer support being essential. Nurses also reported that manager and staff support and workplace education were the most helpful in reducing HV. Increased workload and stress and HV being accepted practice on the unit were factors identified as most important in promoting HV. Further, nurses cited reasons why they continue in their jobs after episodes of HV. Intervention studies are needed to test effective ways of reducing this very difficult behavior among nurses in the workplace.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.