STAMP: components of observable behaviour that indicate potential for patient violence in emergency departments

J Adv Nurs. 2007 Jul;59(1):11-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2007.04308.x. Epub 2007 Jun 3.

Abstract

Aim: This paper is the report of a study to explicate the components of observable behaviour that indicate a potential for violence in patients, their family and friends when presenting at an emergency department.

Background: Violence towards nurses is a contemporary, multifaceted problem for the healthcare workforce globally. International literature identifies emergency departments as having high levels of violence.

Method: A mixed method case study design was adopted, and data were collected by means of 290 hours of participant observation, 16 semi-structured interviews and 13 informal field interviews over a 5-month period in 2005. Thematic analysis of textual data was undertaken using NVivo2. Frequency counts were developed from the numerical data.

Findings: Five distinctive elements of observable behaviour indicating potential for violence in patients, their families and friends were identified. These elements can be conceptualized as a potential nursing violence assessment framework and described through the acronym STAMP: Staring and eye contact, Tone and volume of voice, Anxiety, Mumbling and Pacing.

Conclusion: Staring and eye contact, Tone and volume of voice, Anxiety, Mumbling and Pacing provides a useful, practical nursing violence assessment framework to assist nurses to quickly identify patients, families and friends who have a potential for violence.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aggression
  • Emergency Nursing
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nurse-Patient Relations*
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Social Perception
  • Violence*
  • Workplace / psychology*