Violence against nurses working in US emergency departments

J Nurs Adm. Jul-Aug 2009;39(7-8):340-9. doi: 10.1097/NNA.0b013e3181ae97db.

Abstract

Objective: The objective of this study was to investigate emergency nurses' experiences and perceptions of violence from patients and visitors in US emergency departments (EDs).

Background: The ED is a particularly vulnerable setting for workplace violence, and because of a lack of standardized measurement and reporting mechanisms for violence in healthcare settings, data are scarce.

Methods: Registered nurse members (n = 3,465) of the Emergency Nurses Association participated in this cross-sectional study by completing a 69-item survey.

Results: Approximately 25% of respondents reported experiencing physical violence more than 20 times in the past 3 years, and almost 20% reported experiencing verbal abuse more than 200 times during the same period. Respondents who experienced frequent physical violence and/or frequent verbal abuse indicated fear of retaliation and lack of support from hospital administration and ED management as barriers to reporting workplace violence.

Conclusion: Violence against ED nurses is highly prevalent. Precipitating factors to violent incidents identified by respondents is consistent with the research literature; however, there is considerable potential to mitigate these factors. Commitment from hospital administrators, ED managers, and hospital security is necessary to facilitate improvement and ensure a safer workplace for ED nurses.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nursing*
  • Occupational Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Risk Assessment
  • Social Perception*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Violence / prevention & control*
  • Violence / statistics & numerical data
  • Workplace*
  • Young Adult