Violence Against Nurses By Nurses: The Skeleton in Nursing’s Closet

Did you all know Nurses suffer the most workplace violence of any profession?

May 6th through 12th, is National Nurses Week, a week where this country honors the contribution of Nurses across the country, but little lip service is given to the tremendous amount of pathology and Spiritual distress we suffer.

Nurses rank highest for ethics of any profession in this country, according to Gallup polls , but what few people know is that Nurses also face the most violence at work of any profession. AND, most of that violence is in the form of Lateral violence (LV), a deliberate and harmful behavior demonstrated in the workplace by one employee to another or violence against nurses by other nurses. Read more about it here and here.

If you participate in any behavior that is undermining, or are a passive observer of the abuse of another, then know YOU are part of the problem of Lateral Violence!

Unfortunately, as a smart, badass nappy headed, brown skin nurse, I am constantly exposed to the most base expression of Lateral Violence in nursing.

My recent experience of character assassination, collusion, sabotage and backstabbing by the President and Board of the American Cannabis Nurses Association, has left me in a state of shock and unable to attend and access the most recent gathering of the scientific community in endocannabinoid therapeutics. The biannual Patients Out of Time Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics. Again, isolation is another form of violence.

The last place I expected to be marginalized and mistreated was in an organization that is on the fringe of the nursing community!

Unfortunately, like the majority of nursing which is 74.3% white, the American Cannabis Nursing Association’s Board of Directors demonstrated expressed conditioning of violent behaviors, so entrenched in the culture of nursing that anyone appearing as an egotistic threat, me, the only black advanced practice public health nurse among them, is quickly discredited, isolated and marginalized while others, to intimidated to object, stand by meekly and watch, or participate out of fear, lest they are beset by the same violence too.

While my experience with American Cannabis Nursing Association has been the most shocking, unexpected and surprising, hospitals are filled with managers and other nursing leaders, who not only condone, but promote acceptance of LV on their units with poor treatment of specific staff.

As an operating room nurse, advanced practice nurse, and nurse of color, this scene is all to familiar in my experience, as less than 9% of operating room Nurse Managers have Masters’ Degrees and above.

This is mind boggling considering the annual budget of an operating room could be in the millions. Only in nursing would a major corporation, put an inexperienced an undereducated leader in charge of a million dollar budget!

This instance is clearly illustrated and played out in major OR’s across this Nation, but the most flagrant nepotism and “fudging” of credentials to promote and grandfather in “favored” nurses was done at Peninsula Hospital in Burlingame, CA. In order to promote a nurse, Diana Maionchi, without the leadership credentials into a position of Director whilst she only held a two year Diploma nursing degree.

Human resources in this particular Sutter hospital, justified her placement by taking her 35 years of service as a substitute for a Masters Degree! I would have saved myself the $150,000, and the pain of having to do advanced practice nursing work, if I had known that in just a few years, I would be eligible for a position of leadership based on the fact that I “showed up” for 35 years!

The level of violence, lack of evidence in practice, mismanagement and condoning of violence was insane under this Managers leadership, to the point where I was so stressed, I literally lost the vision in my left eye suddenly at work. As the only Black nurse, and only one of the few with a Masters Degree, in the entire unit, I was subjected to such a Witch hunt by the manager that when I lost my vision she was thrilled and delighted at the prospect that I might not be able to return to my job and indeed, happily forced me out of my position before I was able to make a complete recovery.

“Common forms of lateral violence include nonverbal innuendo,verbal affront,undermining activities, withholding information, sabotage, infighting, scapegoating, and backstabbing. Bullying and lateral violence have serious negative consequences for nurses, their patients, and healthcare employers. Disruptive behaviors are toxic not only to the nursing profession but also to the institution in which they occur.”

Learn more about Lateral Violence to recognize the signs and understand how we need to prevent it!

The American Academy of Med-Surg Nurses have a fantastic article worth the read



Cancer in Men: Checked Your Balls Today?

Testicular Cancer kills an estimated 350 men a year.

Another 8200 men with a median age between 20 and 34 will discover they are new cancer patients, within the next year. Testicular self exam helps you become more familiar with your testicles while checking for symptoms of testicular cancer.

What are testicles?

The testicles are a part of the male reproductive system. They are also called the testes; one testicle is called a testis. In adult males, these 2 organs are each normally somewhat smaller than a golf ball. They are contained within a sac of skin called the scrotum, which hangs beneath the base of the penis.The testicles make male hormones, mostly testosterone. They also make sperm. Sperm cells go from the testicle to a coiled tube inside the scrotum (the epididymis) where they are stored. Sperm travel from the epididymis through the vas deferens to the seminal vesicles, where they are mixed with fluid from the prostate gland. During ejaculation, sperm cells, seminal vesicle fluid, and prostatic fluid enter the urethra and go out the tip of the penis. The urethra is the tube in the center of the penis through which urine or semen leave the body.

How to do quick testicular self-exam

The best time to do the self-exam is during or after a bath or shower, when the skin of the scrotum is relaxed. To do a testicular self-exam:

  • Hold your penis out of the way and check one testicle at a time.
  • Hold the testicle between your thumbs and fingers of both hands and roll it gently between your fingers.
  • Look and feel for any hard lumps or smooth rounded bumps or any change in the size, shape, or consistency of the testes.
Have your physician demonstrate a proper exam if you are not sure of your technique.
Please seek immediate medical attention if you feel any lumps, bumps or changes in the size, shape or texture of your testicles!
Testicular cancer is easily treatable in it’s early stages, but left undiagnosed can spread to the lungs, brain and other organs.
Check out a The Testicular Cancer Resource Center’s page on self exam for more details on detecting Testicular Cancer and other information.
Here’s some great information from The American Cancer Society with a fantastic illustration and description of testicular anatomy and a proper ball check.
Remember. Testicular Cancer Kills. Have You Checked Your Balls Today?
The Hygienists swabbed a total of 350 surfaces looking for high levels of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) which is present in all animal, vegetable, bacteria, yeast and mold cells and indicates contamination by any of these organisms.
Kimberly-Clark recently had trained Hygienists go round swapping for germs in high traffic areas of major cities like L.A., Chicago, Dallas and Atlanta as part of it’s Healthy Workplace Project.

The Hygienists swabbed a total of 350 surfaces looking for high levels of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) which is present in all animal, vegetable, bacteria, yeast and mold cells and indicates contamination by any of these organisms.

What they found will totally surprise you!

 Here are the germiest public places swabbed with levels of ATP high enough to make you sick!

  • 71% of gas pump handles,

  • 68% of mailbox handles,

  • 43% of escalator rails,

  • 41% of ATM buttons,

  • 40% of parking meters and kiosks,

  • 35% of crosswalk buttons, and

  • 35% of vending machine buttons.

With cold and flu season upon us, it is important to remember to wash your hands like you have OCD and be careful not to touch your face after touching public surfaces, or shaking hands.
Staying healthy by limiting contamination from hands is way up there on my lists of must do’s ALWAYS!
Call me a freak, after all..I am a Public Health Nurse! Here’s a list of things I consciously do to keep myself healthy.

Practice good hand washing! This is the oldest, most effective infection control practice around! No amount of technology can do what plan ol’ soap and water can do to protect you and your family from germs.

It is literally the action of the soap (a surfactant) helping to lift germs off the surface of your hands in the presence of friction and running water to carry away bioburden.

These factors in combination makes this practice extraordinarily effective!

Avoid eating out of communal bags!
Goodies like chips or crackers. Pouring servings out of bags is the best way to avoid contamination. I once worked at a hospital where 80% of the staff got sick with Norwalk Virus after a potluck. Norovirus is a family of highly contagious bugs that can give you fatal diarrhea! The worst part…Norwalk is transmitted from the feces of anyone infected! Yuck! I shutter to think any hospital employee is not using proper hand washing techniques, but we had the sick staff to prove it! I always avoid foods where the possibility of hand contamination exists. The CDC has great information about Norovirus prevention.

Avoid touching your face. 
One thing working around sick people in a place full of contamination, i.e., the hospital, is I have learned the importance of keeping my hands away from my face. The mouth, eyes and nose are perfect places to infect yourself with germs you’ve picked up in the environment! Way too rub it in!

Stay away from hand sanitizers unless you are desperate! 
There are plenty of folks out there pushing the virtues of hand sanitizers, but I have never been one of them! Hand sanitizer use plays a major role in the development of resistant organisms and have contributed to the spread of some really bad hospital bugs. If hands are covered with dirt and grime, sanitizers are completely useless as germs are simply moved into nice little balls of dirt. If you must use hand sanitizers, remember to wash your hands as soon as possible after sanitizing to remove residual bugs and dirt.

Use your wings! 
Remember to sneeze, cough, hack or wheeze in the crook of your elbow to reduce hand contamination. Like I say to the kids, who I am teaching to cover their cough or sneeze…”use your wing”!

The Wall Street Journal published a great article about the germiest public places a few years ago which is still relevant today This article by Healthy Living Plus has some great information about germs in the environment and ways to reduce your risk for contamination.

Remember…wash your hands!


All my close friends call me Nurse Courtney….


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