Culture of Kindness

In the summer of 2018, the nursing leadership team at The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center (BBCH) learned of possible lateral violence incidents and a tolerated culture of incivility through sporadic staff anecdotes.

It is well-documented that incidences of lateral violence in health care settings can have widespread negative effects for victims, care team members and patients (ANA, 2015). In July 2018, this culture was validated by responses from an evidence-based survey (Nemeth et al., 2017), finding 73% of respondents (n=67) stated lateral violence was present, 67% were not willing to intervene, and 70% had no special training.

BBCH leadership then implemented several interventions specific to the trends identified by the initial survey. We provided written education defining workplace violence and incivility and describing the negative effects on the team. We also instituted walking ethics rounds to help increase moral resiliency – which has been shown to decrease lateral violence amongst team members.

Staff and leadership were required to attend a class based on a Culture of Kindness model developed at our institution. Now, if conflict occurs, staff follow this 4-step model:

  1. Diagnose own reaction
  2. Interpret others’ intent
  3. Intervene respectfully
  4. Resolve through ownership

Classes were interactive, requiring staff to brainstorm, watch a TED Talk (Sinek, 2014), and role-play seven different lateral violence scenarios. Employee retention has improved as a result of these initiatives.

Culture of Kindness – Reducing Clinical Nurse Turnover Rate
Maine Medical Center BBI