Factors associated with victimization of personnel in emergency departments

J Emerg Nurs. 1999 Oct;25(5):361-6. doi: 10.1016/s0099-1767(99)70090-5.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to identify the incidence of ED personnel victimization in Central Florida and examine its relationship to victims' reports of 3 factors: characteristics of the patient/perpetrator, characteristics of the personnel victimized, and characteristics of the ED environment.

Methods: Data were collected anonymously in a mail survey using 37 items from Mahoney's Emergency Department Victimization Questionnaire (EDVQ) and a demographic questionnaire. Chi square, Spearman's rank correlation coefficient, and Pearson's product moment correlation were used to describe frequencies, incidence, and their relationships to the variables studied. A sample of 226 of the 600 direct care personnel (37%) from 18 of the 19 hospital emergency departments in a tri-county area (95%) participated.

Results: The incidence of physical assault was reported to be 42% during the past year and 72% during the respondents' careers. Alcohol use was associated with incidence (1-tailed Pearson; P =.001). Verbal abuse was significantly higher on day shift (P =.043). The most desired environmental variable was 24-hour security attendants, available to 51.8% of the respondents. More than a fourth of the subjects reported that they had completed no coursework or had no continuing education in violence prevention.

Discussion: Respondents reported avoiding identification on duty, underreporting, postvictimization staff turnover, dissatisfaction with security, and the desire for every security provision listed. The goals of reducing the fears and victimization of ED personnel should become a priority within the health care system.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Emergency Service, Hospital*
  • Female
  • Florida
  • Health Facility Environment / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Health* / statistics & numerical data*
  • Personnel, Hospital* / statistics & numerical data*
  • Risk Factors
  • Security Measures / standards
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Violence / statistics & numerical data*