A critical ethnographic study using Bourdieu’s social practice framework to expain vertical and horizontal abuse (VHA) within an undergraduate nurse simulation environment

Krishna Lambert, Karen Francis, Kathleen Tori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Vertical and horizontal abuse (VHA) has been reported in the nursing literature for over 30years. VHA has also been referred to as workplace bullying, incivility, harassment, and mobbing. Previouswork has explicitly focussed on VHA in nurses working in the industry, while other studies explore VHAgenerally in nursing students. However, there has been little attention paid to episodes of VHA, whichmay occur among nursing students learning in simulated environments.Aim: This study aimed to identify factors which enabled episodes of VHA among second-year nursing students learning in a simulated hospital environment, through the application of Bourdieu’s social practicetheory.Method: This research used a critical ethnographic approach. Methods included observations, andsemi-structured interviews with student (n = 40) and academic participants (n = 3) from a second-yearundergraduate nursing program.Results: Episodes of VHA were evident among second-year nursing students and academics learning andteaching in a simulated environment. This study showed that the organizational and the social spacesof learning and teaching had been influenced by healthcare industry culture and the challenge for capital within the university. This has resulted in the simulated laboratory, becoming a space for culturalreproduction.Conclusion: This study calls for both an educational and organizational response to the findings. An educational response would require a curriculum review to reveal and acknowledge symbolic violence whichmay be embedded. An organizational response to recognize the symbiotic relationship between thehigher education and health care sectors which may result in the reproduction of VHA is also required.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages6
JournalCollegian: The Australian Journal of Nursing Practice, Scholarship and Research
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Jul 2020

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