Violence against emergency department workers

J Emerg Med. 2006 Oct;31(3):331-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jemermed.2005.12.028.


The purpose of this study was to describe the violence experienced by Emergency Department (ED) workers from patients and visitors during the 6 months before the survey. Two hundred forty-two employees at five hospitals who came in direct contact with patients or visitors completed a survey. The study found that most workers had been verbally harassed by patients or visitors at least once. There were at least 319 assaults by patients and 10 assaults by visitors. Sixty-five percent of subjects assaulted stated that they did not report the assault to hospital authorities. Sixty-four percent of subjects had not had any violence prevention training during the previous 12 months. There were significant relationships among violent experiences, feelings of safety, and job satisfaction. ED workers are at high risk for violence, and efforts are needed to decrease the incidence of violence. Such efforts are likely to have a positive impact on job satisfaction and retention of ED workers.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aggression
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Data Collection
  • Emergency Service, Hospital*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Patients*
  • Personnel, Hospital / psychology
  • Safety*
  • Violence / prevention & control
  • Violence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Workforce
  • Workplace