Impact of Patient-Engaged Video Surveillance on Nursing Workforce Safety: Patient Aggression/Violence

J Nurs Care Qual. Jul/Sep 2020;35(3):213-219. doi: 10.1097/NCQ.0000000000000450.


Background: Health care workers are 4 times more likely to suffer violence than workers in other industries.

Purpose: The aim was to examine types of patients' verbal/physical abuse against the nursing workforce observed through patient-engaged video surveillance (PEVS) and interventions initiated by monitor technicians.

Methods: A descriptive study was conducted to analyze all types of patient-initiated abuse, physical and verbal, reported from 73 hospitals and patient response to PEVS.

Results: Of 150 434 patients whom RNs enrolled into 24-hour PEVS, 5034 patients (3%) were identified by RNs as at risk for aggressive/violent behavior as their primary or secondary reason for PEVS enrollment, and 32 (0.60%) patients exhibited such behavior. A total of 221 patients demonstrated aggressive/violent behaviors, 32 (15%) were identified as at risk, and 189 (85%) were not. However, 5002 (99%; 5002/5034) of the patients identified as a risk for aggressive/violent behaviors did not exhibit these behaviors.

Conclusions: Patient-engaged video surveillance is an effective method to track and trend patient aggression toward nursing staff, increasing patient and nursing workforce safety. Because 99% of the patients who exhibited aggressive/violent behavior were not identified by RNs as at risk, organizations should consider adding violence risk tools as part of patients' admission assessment.

MeSH terms

  • Aggression / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inpatients
  • Male
  • Nursing Staff / psychology*
  • Occupational Health
  • Videotape Recording*
  • Workforce*
  • Workplace Violence* / psychology
  • Workplace Violence* / statistics & numerical data