Violence against nurses and its impact on stress and productivity

Nurs Econ. Mar-Apr 2011;29(2):59-66, quiz 67.


The purpose of this study was to examine how violence from patients and visitors is related to emergency department (ED) nurses' work productivity and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Researchers have found ED nurses experience a high prevalence of physical assaults from patients and visitors. Yet, there is little research which examines the effect violent events have on nurses' productivity, particularly their ability to provide safe and compassionate patient care. A cross-sectional design was used to gather data from ED nurses who are members of the Emergency Nurses Association in the United States. Participants were asked to complete the Impact of Events Scale-Revised and Healthcare Productivity Survey in relation to a stressful violent event. Ninety-four percent of nurses experienced at least one posttraumatic stress disorder symptom after a violent event, with 17% having scores high enough to be considered probable for PTSD. In addition, there were significant indirect relationships between stress symptoms and work productivity. Workplace violence is a significant stressor for ED nurses. Results also indicate violence has an impact on the care ED nurses provide. Interventions are needed to prevent the violence and to provide care to the ED nurse after an event.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Efficiency, Organizational*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / psychology*
  • Occupational Health*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / parasitology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States
  • Violence / statistics & numerical data*