Nurses Eat Their Young : Resources for Lateral Violence

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Sketch 2010-10-06 04_20_43

The phenomena that is often laughed off in the nursing profession when nurses refer to it as how “Nurses Eat Their Young” is known by many other terms. These include: Bullying, Horizontal Violence, Lateral Violence, Hostile Work Environment, Harassment, Nurse to Nurse Violence,  Horizontal Hostility, and likely many more that I have not directly stated.

When you are victim experiencing lateral violence it is very easy to attempt to write the treatment you are receiving off a necessary due you must pay in order to join the nursing profession.

It’s not.

Lateral violence is an issue that hinders nurses from reaching their full potential as professionals. It takes up valuable clinical time that can be spent on patient care. And it often forces many excellent and skilled individuals to leave the nursing profession. It is unacceptable and as nurses we should see it as an embarrassment.

If you have landed on this page, you may be unsure if what you are experiencing is part of bullying in nursing. If you are unsure, then likely you are experiencing it. The incidences can ranges from mild to severe, but learning what you’re rights are, and what you can do to combat this injustice is the first step you can take towards helping the nursing profession to scrub this stain free from our image.

On his page I will attempt to group and arrange the resources I have found for myself and any reader submitted resources including articles, laws, and professional standards in a list below. These resources range from Books, Articles, Websites, Blogs, and Discussion Forums. Some of the articles even include CE credits. Resources listed as “Articles” were intended to be specific to those that could be utilized for scholarly research and writing.

Lateral  Violence Resources for Nurses




  • The Mobbing Encyclopaedia – Bullying; Whistleblowing – Information about Mobbing at the WorkplaceProfessor Heinz Leymann, PhD, MD sci
  • Actions to Tackle Bullying At Work –


Forum Discussions

Posts on This Blog:

I will continue to add to this list as additional links and resources are brought to my attention. Please feel free to comment below with any additional information, links, or insight you have on the matter.

Nurses need to support each other in order to progress as professionals.

We need to Stop Nurses Eating Their Young!

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15 thoughts on “Nurses Eat Their Young : Resources for Lateral Violence”

  1. While the dates of these posts are somewhat dated, the unfortunate theme of nurse bullies is alive and well. I have witnessed it, and have lost count of the new nurses who have been victim to it. I really want to repost this, as it has many resources. I find it interesting that our nation has anti-bully campaigns in schools, but there is nothing built into the system to even acknowledge – let alone, protect – victims of nurse bullying.

    1. Unfortunately bullying in nursing still persists and will continue to persists until the root of the issue is resolved.
      It has to start in school and hospitals have to adopt no-tolerance policies. Unfortunately, many schools and hospitals like to pretend it doesn’t even exist, and many in management and leadership do it themselves.

  2. When I read this, I am terrified. I just finished my nursing course and currently reviewing for NCLEX. I was so excited to go out there and practice what I learned and give TLC to sick people…but when I learned about this bullying in the nursing profession, my confidence waned. I’m never good at fighting back bullying . When I click to check out the links you provided, they ‘re really not much help because most of them are ‘researches and studies” not information on how to stop bullying or how to deal with it in the nursing workplace. I’m kinda doubting myself if ever I can survive in this profession—with the stress that comes from the job and with the stress from people who I’m going to work with

  3. JoLynne Anderson

    I have recently discovered your blogs and LOVE them!
    Kindred Spirits, I think!’
    At the age of 55, I find Reverse Bullying to abound, with the young whipper-snappers acting as the culprits!
    I have even been written up for attempting to quietly redirect another’s micro-managing from her seated position at the computer. Providing me with a moment by moment announcement of my detailed patient orders, without breaking suction from your seat is not helpful! When I repeatedly redirected her and then finally sat (toe-to-toe) with her to explain why her behavior was so annoying, bought me a write-up, I was astounded!!
    Keep up the wonderful work!

    1. JoLynne,

      Thank you so much for reading!

      And you are correct. Bullying can come from either direction from old towards the new or the new towards the old. Either instance is wrong.
      And unfortunately it is often the victim that get reprimanded from management, especially if they start polling the peanut gallery. Usually bullying takes place in groups so naturally if a manager go around asking about the victim and the bullies, the bullies are going to get shiny stars and positive points while the victim will be called “not a team player” or worse.
      I hate that you’ve had to experience any amount of bullying and hope that your experiences improve.

  4. I just wanted to thank you for all of the resources, articles, comments. I wrote you when the nurses eat their young article was posted on medscape. You were so kind and gave me a lot of good advice. I told you about a nurse who was all 6 categories of bully in one, and how my boss was her “best friend”, so i was considering leaving. My decision was finalized when she was voted Nurse of the Year by my boss, much to the shock of our entire dept and the entire hospital. All know she is a mean bully. her award solidified to me that nothing was going to change, so I go back to my busy urban ER at the end of the month.

    1. Isn’t that just wild?
      A confirmation that in being a boss you cannot be best friends with your employees, IMHO Also a confirmation to the bully nurse that they can do whatever they darn well please, which will make that nurse dangerous and likely feel without consequence which is SCARY! You can and should be friendly with your employees… best friends, NO! Too many opportunities for nonsense to occur, as you have enlightened us on a particular example of.
      However, I am touched and honored that you follow my blog and if I was in help in any way, I am thrilled.
      Blogging about nursing, lateral violence, and my life in general have empowered me to face many obsticals that I don’t otherwise feel I would have been able to.
      It seems like the Urban ER is where you really need/want to be. Life has a funny way, sometimes, of getting us to go where we need to. Sometimes, unfortunately that involved bullies.
      I believe that you will find in the future, as I have that, that even though the treatment you experienced was wrong on so many levels, YOU are strong enough to grow from it and be a better person and nurse because of it.
      Keep me updated on how things are once you return to your urban ER.

  5. I am a new nurse & I have been the victim of bullying, not by another nurse, but one of the senior unit secretaries who thinks she runs the place at night. I spoke up! Now things are better. Time will tell, but, as my first nursing job, I will likely transfer to something non-med/surg after my year 1 is up (I haz dreams). But, the point is to speak up! This should NEVER be tolerated by anyone.

    1. Isn’t it funny how the secretaries can be some of the biggest bullies!
      As time progresses I have confidence that you’re experiences will improve. Completely agree that it is VITAL to speak up!

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