Violence, aggression and physical assault in healthcare settings

Nurs Stand. 2006 Dec;21(13):42-6. doi: 10.7748/ns2006.


All healthcare professionals are at risk from violent and aggressive patients, however, it has been found that nurses are at particular risk. The actual incidence is difficult to determine because the definition of what constitutes a physical assault or a violent event is vague. This article considers how the terms violence, aggression and physical assault are conceptualised in the healthcare setting and suggests that nursing staff need to identify and act on any incident that compromises their personal safety.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aggression
  • Bias
  • Humans
  • Nursing Staff / organization & administration
  • Occupational Health* / statistics & numerical data
  • Research Design
  • Safety Management / organization & administration*
  • Security Measures / organization & administration
  • State Medicine / organization & administration
  • United Kingdom
  • Violence* / prevention & control
  • Violence* / statistics & numerical data
  • Workplace / organization & administration*