Date of Conferral







Donna Bailey


The nursing profession is facing its largest professional nurse deficit in history. With nursing schools unable to produce enough new nurses to replace the number of nurses retiring, it becomes increasingly important to retain as many nurses as possible within the profession. Nursing research literature has reported that up to 60% of newly registered nurses will leave their first job within their first year of practice citing horizontal violence as a contributing factor. The literature does not address if or how early student nurses might perceive exposure to horizontal violence. The purpose of this qualitative, interpretive, phenomenological study was to obtain student nurse perspectives of their lived experiences with horizontal violence during their clinical hospital rotations. The theory of cognitive adaptation supported the study by looking at students' ability to gain mastery, assign meaning, and restore self-esteem over events. This study used voluntary student nurse participation in an online survey. A total of 72 student nurses logged onto the survey, with 23 responding to the survey questions. The data analysis consisted of coding and thematic analysis. The research results show that student nurses are victims of horizontal violence from nursing staff and nursing leadership as early as their first clinical hospital rotation. Coping abilities of student nurses range from avoidance of the event to leaving the profession. Recommendations for change in professional nursing include changes in academic preparation and to clinical enculturation of student nurses. These positive cultural changes within academic and clinical nursing will help protect our student nurses from early attrition. Saving our students will decrease nurse turnover and improve patient outcomes resulting in positive social change for the nursing profession.