Friday, July 13, 2007
This presentation is part of : Initiatives to Support EBN
A Study of Nurse-to-Nurse Hostility: Why Nurses Eat Their Young
Kathleen Bartholomew, RN, MN, Swedish Medical Center/Convergent Knowledge Solutions/Innovative Healthcare, Seattle, WA, USA
Learning Objective #1: ...raise his/her awareness of horizontal hostiility by explaining the intrinsic and extrinsic factors that contribute to uncaring behaviors.
Learning Objective #2: ...acknowledge the key role that educators and nurse leaders play in stopping horizaontal hostility.

The expression, ”nurses eat their young”, is so far removed from our idea of the caring and nurturing nurse that we shudder to think it could possibly be true. But the truth is, nurses are hurting each other. Research shows that 60% of new graduates leave their first position within six months because of some form of horizontal hostility. In a global nursing shortage, understanding this insidious behavior and developing educational strategies to end hostility is imperative. The theoretical framework that best explains these uncaring overt and covert behaviors is the oppression theory. Following the theory, the first step to addressing a problem that has been accepted as ‘normal’ by the group is to bring the problem out into the open. This therefore, is the over-arching objective: visibility. One reason that research has been hampered in the United States is the lack of a formally accepted definition. Research on horizontal hostility is listed under a myriad of terms from interactive workplace trauma to lateral violence. This variety in the language inhibits a comprehensive picture of the problem. If we are to progress in knowledge and understanding hostility, at the most basic level, we must define our terms. This presentation summarizes the results of individual interviews with nurses across the spectrum of experience (validating the problem) and creates a synthesis of all international research to 1) provide an in-depth understanding of horizontal hostility, 2) propose adoption of a uniform definition and 3) advance known educational practices conducive to ending hostility.