Download Poster (286 KB)


Vertical violence is defined as any act of violence including yelling, snide comments, withholding information, ignoring, and humiliating behaviors occurring between two or more persons on different levels of a hierarchical system that prohibits professional performance and satisfaction within the workplace (Cantey, 2013). Vertical violence can occur in any unit of the hospital but is mainly felt and witnessed by student nurses and their clinical instructors in the medical surgical units. According to research done by Fenush and Hupcey (2008), the nursing shortage is most severe in the medical surgical units. Their research found that the two greatest factors in whether a new graduate will choose a specific unit is the experience they had and how the unit staff treat and respond to nursing students. Vertical violence has been an ongoing problem in the nursing profession and is now affecting hospital units where newly graduated nurses are needed the most. There is a gap of knowledge of why staff nurses are holding biases against the students’, and how communication and teamwork between the two can be improved. This literature review will attempt to bridge the gap by examining the current and past literature on vertical violence in hope of uncovering information that can be used for future research and hospital protocols. The purpose of this literature review is to explore the attitudes and biases of staff nurses when working with students’, to see how staff and student relationships have improved, and if students’ clinical experience on a particular unit will determine their career choice post graduation.



Faculty Advisor

Luanne Linnard-Palmer, Ed.D.

Publication Date

Spring 2015


San Rafael, CA


Higher Education | Nursing

A Literature Review of Vertical Violence Between Staff Medical Surgical Nurses and Nursing Students During Clinical Rotations