Incivility defined as rude or unsociable speech or behavior. Incivility impact the work environment in a negative manner, it also affects the nursing professional. Unfortunately, I witness incivility quite often in the workplace, which I found out later it is considered lateral violence. According to AORN, lateral violence, which involves individuals openly or secretly directing their dissatisfaction with their work settings at co-workers of equal or lower levels within an organization, comes in many forms, e.g., bullying, gossip, criticism (Stanton, 2015). I recall an event where a telemetry nurse acknowledges a decline in respiratory status with her patient, and she initiated the medical response team. The critical care staff arrived to assess the situation. As they gathered information, they realized the patient is a do not resuscitate/do not intubate status, on maximum BiPAP settings, and with an active hospice consults for the patient. The medical response team showed behaviors of annoyance and rolling their eyes, making sarcastic and derogatory remarks. I felt bad for the nurse because I can tell her morale was affected. I apologized for my co-worker’s behavior and reassured her that she didn’t do anything wrong. Also, I made the medical response staff team aware of their behavior and education was provided to rid the nursing environment of this practice. I didn’t want this incident to stop the nurse from making decisions based on what’s best for the patients and to be reluctant to call the medical response team in the future. At times incivility is directed from someone in a position of power toward a coworker who has less power, and it can be devastating to the targeted person, unsafe for patients, and costly for the facility (McNamara, 2012). Workplace incivility leads to consequences for a facility such as increased employee turnover, losing employees, stress-related illness and damage to reputation and brand. This situation could have been prevented by continually educating the staff of lateral violence and providing work safe environment. Nurses must raise their awareness and the awareness of others about these behaviors; recognize behavior that undermines a culture of safety when it occurs; and become empowered to address, confront, and move beyond bullying (McNamara, 2012). Strategies that support a healthy work environment is always extending kindness and respect. When you extend kindness to your coworkers, you are modeling the way nurses should treat each other. True change can only begin after nurses collectively acknowledge the realities of lateral violence in their environment and nurse leaders implement policies addressing such violence (Stanton, 2015)
McNamara, S. A. (2012). Incivility in nursing: unsafe nurse, unsafe patients. AORN Journal, 95(4), 535-540. doi:10.1016/j.aorn.2012.01.020
Stanton, C. (2015). Action needed to stop lateral violence in the perioperative setting. AORN Journal, 101(5), P7-P9.