Date of Conferral







Mary M. Martin


As many as 90% of nurses report working in an environment where their peers engage in passively and overtly violent activities against other nurses. Working in such an environment is unhealthy and has consequences for the career trajectory of nursing. There is a lack of literature available that specifically addresses nurses’ perceptions of their abilities to provide safe patient care in unhealthy work environments. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the lived experiences of nurses who have experienced lateral violence and their perceptions of their ability to provide safe care. Husserl’s philosophy of phenomenology was used as the conceptual framework and Freire’s theory of pedagogical oppression and empowerment was used as the theoretical framework of this study. Semistructured telephone interviews were conducted with 13 registered nurses who experienced lateral violence. I then analyzed verbatim transcriptions of the interviews using manual coding. Categorization of data into 5 themes was accomplished utilizing interpretative phenomenological analysis. The themes included lateral violence, responses to lateral violence, oppressive group behavior, unsafe care, and coping. Recommendations based on this research included acknowledging that lateral violence is often present in the workplace, taking a clear stand against it, supporting the victim by directly confronting the perpetrator, and providing support services to the victim. Results from this study can be used to promote positive social change by informing nurses of the dangers of lateral violence and by encouraging a change of culture in work environments where nurses support each other. In doing so, nurses may be better equipped to address patient needs and provide safe care

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