Emergency nurses' experience with violence: does it affect nursing care of battered women?

J Emerg Nurs. 2002 Jun;28(3):199-204. doi: 10.1067/men.2002.124991.


Objective: To determine what effect nurses' experience of interpersonal violence had on proposed nursing care of battered women ED patients.

Methods: One hundred ninety-five emergency nurses completed surveys on their personal experiences with violence involving patients or intimate partners and on their proposed nursing care of battered women given 2 vignettes.

Results: Seventy percent of participants experienced violence perpetrated by a patient; 40% of the nurses reported violence perpetrated by their intimate partners; and 19% had used force on their partners. Prior assault of a nurse by a patient or partner did not affect the proposed nursing care that would be provided by that nurse to battered women ed patients. Female nurses who committed violence against their intimate partners proposed less nursing care than did those who did not commit violence against their intimate partners for the vignette describing a woman who had received minor injuries.

Conclusions: This study documents the vulnerability of nurses to assault by patients and intimate partners. This vulnerability does not affect their proposed nursing care of battered women. An exception is nurses who themselves commit violence against intimate partners. Findings point to the need to increase safety for nurses in the workplace and provide employee assistance to help nurses confront violence at home.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Battered Women / psychology*
  • Emergency Nursing*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Nursing Care / methods*
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / psychology*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Surveys and Questionnaires