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Bullies at Work: The Impact of Horizontal Hostility in the Hospital Setting and Intent to Leave

Wilson, Barbara L. PhD, RNC; Diedrich, Andrea RN, MSN; Phelps, Connie L. RNC, MSN; Choi, Myuaghan PhD, MPH, APRN-BC

Journal of Nursing Administration: November 2011 - Volume 41 - Issue 11 - p 453-458
doi: 10.1097/NNA.0b013e3182346e90
Articles

The phenomenon of bullying or peer incivility in nursing is not new or confined to nurses. Behaviors consistent with horizontal hostility (HH) range from overt behavioral manifestations such as infighting among nurses; sabotage (where pertinent information is intentionally withheld); passive-aggressive behavior; eye rolling in response to a question; or verbal remarks that are snide, rude, and demeaning, to more covert behaviors including failure to respect confidences and privacy. Horizontal hostility can lead to profound and long-lasting effects, including diminished productivity and increased absenteeism. This study surveyed RNs at a community hospital in the Southwest to determine (a) the degree of HH in the workplace and (b) the extent that the perception of HH affected ill calls and the likelihood of leaving their current position. The authors make recommendations about the prevention, identification, and handling of HH behaviors.

Author Affiliations: Nurse Research Consultant and Assistant Professor (Dr Wilson), Assistant Professor (Dr Choi), College of Nursing and Health Innovation, Arizona State University, Phoenix; and Director of Education (Ms Diedrich), Manager of Professional Practice (Ms Phelps), Mercy Gilbert Medical Center, Gilbert, Arizona.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Correspondence: Dr Wilson, College of Nursing and Healthcare Innovation, Arizona State University, 500 North 3rd St, Phoenix, AZ 85004-0698 (barbara.l.wilson@asu.edu).

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.