Monday, January 29, 2007

Horizontal Violence

This is what I have been feeling. I read this and freaked. This describes the medical industry to a t.
I realize there is a lot of text here but I am so pleased and relieved I found this tidbit- check out the website.

Definition of horizontal violence

Horizontal violence is hostile and aggressive behaviour by individual or group members towards another member or groups of members of the larger group. This has been described as inter-group conflict. ( Duffy 1995).

Talk to all staff members about the phenomenon, break the silence.


Horizontal violence is non physical inter group conflict and is manifested in overt and covert behaviours of hostility (Freire 1972; Duffy 1995). It is behaviour associated with oppressed groups and can occur in any arena where there are unequal power relations, and one group's self expression and autonomy is controlled by forces with greater prestige, power and status than themselves (Harcombe 1999). It may be conscious or unconscious behaviour (Taylor 1996).

It may be overt or covert. It is generally non physical, but may involve shoving, hitting or throwing objects. It is one arm of the submissive/aggressive syndrome that results from an internalised self-hatred and low self esteem as a result of being part of an oppressed group (Glass 1997; Roberts 1996; MCCall 1995). It is the inappropriate way oppressed people release built up tension when they are unable to address and solve issues with the oppressor. (Administration and doctors)

In the majority of western cultures, a dominator model (Eisler 1993) of social organization enables workplace hierarchy to limit autonomy and practice of various groups of workers and therefore acts as an oppressive force. Workers are socialised into the oppressive structures and unequal power relations of the workplace system.
Some groups of people within each particular workplace unconsciously adopt inflated feelings and attitudes of superiority. Some groups adopt unconsciously submissive attitudes, learned helplessness, within the workplace.

Horizontal Violence is a symptom of the dynamics around oppression and a sense of powerlessness. It is to the workplace culture like water is to fish. It moulds, shapes and dictates the behaviour of those within the workplace culture.
It is a form of bullying and acts to socialise those who are different into the status quo.

Horizontal violence in the workplace is the result of history and politics in western society and the ideology and practices associated with the socialisation and stereotyping of males and females in western culture. Horizontal violence is a systems and cultural issue, a symptom of an emotionally, spiritually and psychologically toxic and oppressive environment. Horizontal violence is not a symptom of individual pathology, although individual pathology flourishes in a climate that supports and condones aggressive behaviour.

Horizontal violence includes:

All acts of unkindness, discourtesy, sabotage, divisiveness, infighting, lack of cohesiveness, scapegoating and criticism

For example:

Belittling gestures e.g. deliberate rolling of eyes, folding arms, staring into space when communication being attempted - Body language designed to discomfort the other
Verbal abuse including name calling, threatening, intimidating, dismissing, belittling, undermining, humorous 'put downs'
Gossiping (destructive, negative, nasty talk), talking behind the back, backbiting
Sarcastic comments
Fault finding (nitpicking) - different to those situations where professional and clinical development is required.
Ignoring or minimising another's concerns
Slurs and jokes based on race, ethnicity, religion, gender or sexual orientation
Sending to 'Coventry', 'freezing out' excluding from activities and conversation, work related and social.
Comments that devalue:
people's area of practice;
others that are different to the 'norm'.
Disinterest, discouragement and withholding support
Limiting right to free speech and right to have an opinion
Behaviours which seek to control or dominate (power 'over' rather than power 'with')
Elitist attitudes regarding work area, education, experience etc "better than" attitude
Punishing activities by management e.g. Repeatedly sending someone out of area; bad rosters; chronic under staffing; lack of concern with mental, emotional, spiritual and physical health of employees
Lack of participation in professional organisations (a subtle form of self-hatred) however, busy family lives can preclude participating in professional organizations.


Anonymous said...

I came into a clinical that was a perfect example of horizontal violence. In fact, it was one of the things that we just went over in lecture.

Hmmm, wonder if the reason they did that was because they knew we were going to encounter it on this clinical.

The students from this previous clinical said that the nurses on this ward were extreme bitches to their instructor, but the very same nurses were angels and sucking up to another instructor who leads our group.

But, despite the differences in how they regard the clinical instructors, the nurses still backstab the students to our instructor.

I was a trained crime scene investigator by profession, now changing over to nursing. The biggest reason I observe for the nurses backstabbing students to keep them in a wedgie with the instructors is so that everyone's focus is off the nurse, who is taking the patients' meds. Surprise, surprise.
Don't take your eye off the ball.

My instructor was down my throat about something one of the Wicked Witches had said about my performance,,,,and I happened to, at that very moment spy the same nurse committing said heinous infraction. From my vantage point I could see everything,,,and, since my instructor kept ranting on, I bodily took her by the shoulders and spun her around to get a better view of the situation. The evil nurse was so powned, and I just walked away.

This newest information puts my instructor in a dilemma of magnificent proportions, because it was the nurse manager who got caught in the act. The nurse manager likes to blow hot air up my instructor's skirt till she thinks she can walk on water, and the instructor's position is now in peril since we are both aware of the incident.

My testimony counts for that of TWO people, having been previously certified by the courts as an "expert witness".
The next few weeks are going to be very interesting.

angry male nurse said...

Fucking sucks to get involved in such bullshit. Getting involved seems like an issue of personal survival. They make it virtually impossible to know be involved in some bullshit, because depending on the mood of the instructor, the smallest infraction is treated as a "near-seminal" event. I don't think that many nurses realize that performance, fuck even protocol is sadly subjective but I guess they like it that way to keep everyone in check.
The trick, I think, is to lay super low as an RN. We'll see....