Lateral Violence in Nursing and the Theory of the Nurse as Wounded Healer

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Lateral violence (LV), a deliberate and harmful behavior demonstrated in the workplace by one employee to another, is a significant problem in the nursing profession. The many harmful effects of LV negatively impact both the work environment and the nurse's ability to deliver optimal patient care. In this article, the authors explain how Conti-O'Hare's Theory of the Nurse as Wounded Healer can be used in situations of lateral violence to resolve personal and/or professional pain, build therapeutic relationships, and promote positive work environments. A working model of the theory is applied to the experience of LV in nursing to demonstrate the nurse's path from being the 'walking wounded' to becoming a 'wounded healer.' Implications of this theory for promoting the process of healing and creating an environment that disenables violence are presented; an example is provided. The authors conclude that both practitioners and managers must be aware of the occurrence of LV and of the need for healing. They note that the 'journey of the walking wounded' is an ideal pathway to bring about this healing. As nurses promote health in their patients, they must also promote health in themselves and one another. © 2013 OJIN.



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Online Journal of Issues in Nursing

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