Navigating the Work Environment: Embracing Zero Tolerance for Bullying

Joy Longo, PhD, RNC-NIC



Lateral violence refers to acts that occur between colleagues, where bullying is described as acts perpetrated by one in a higher level of authority and occur over time. The acts can be covert or overt acts of verbal or non-verbal aggression. Relational aggression is a type of bullying typified by psychological abuse. Behaviors include gossiping, withholding information and ostracism. Behaviors can extend outside the workplace and can occur in person or in cyberspace. (Dellasega, C.2009). Workplace violence is a confirmed critical world-wide issue. Forty Eight percent of nurses, pharmacists and others reported strong verbal abuse (Institute for Safe Medication Practices, 2004); 43% nurses, pharmacists and others reported experienced threatening body language (Institute for Safe Medication Practices, 2004); a study of student nurses reported that 53% had been put down by a staff nurse (Longo, 2007); 56.9% reported having been threatened or experienced verbal abuse at work (ANA, 2001). Lateral Violence and Bullying in Nursing has significant impacts: 40% of clinicians “kept quiet” or “ignored” an improper medication due to an intimidating colleague (Institute for Safe Medication Practices, 2004); Unmanaged anger contributes to hypertension, coronary artery disease, depression, psychological problems or other health problems (Meyers, 2006); Low staff morale, increased absenteeism, attrition of staff, deterioration in the quality of patient care. (Hughes 2008); Nurses leave the profession due to lateral violence and bullying contributing to the nursing shortage.

Purpose/Goal: To provide a resource for understanding, addressing and preventing bullying and lateral or horizontal violence in the healthcare environment.


1. Define bullying, lateral violence and horizontal violence.
2. Discuss what leads to bullying in healthcare.
3. Explain how healthcare organizations may implement zero tolerance policies and enforcement them.


Internationally recognized for her work on horizontal violence, Joy Longo, PhD, RNC-NIC will present Navigating the Work Environment: Embracing Zero Tolerance for Bullying for the nursing community. Dr. Longo has conducted extensive research on the phenomenon of disruptive behaviors in nursing and has published on the topic in several nursing journals. An Assistant Professor at the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing at Florida Atlantic University, Dr. Longo has over two decades of experience working in a neonatal intensive care unit setting as a staff nurse and assistant nurse manager.

The planners and author(s) of this continuing nursing education activity have disclosed no relevant financial relationships with any commercial companies pertaining to this activity.

Contact Hours: 1

Expiration Date: 12/31/2014


Member Price: $15.00
Non-Member Price: $30.00

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