The reactions of nursing staff to physical assault by a patient

Hosp Community Psychiatry. 1983 Jan;34(1):44-7. doi: 10.1176/ps.34.1.44.


Forty nursing staff members in a Veterans Administration neuropsychiatric hospital were surveyed in a study aimed at determining victims' responses to the assault and helping to sensitize clinicians to the frequency and outcomes of assaults on nursing staff. The respondents, who had an average of six years of psychiatric nursing experience, reported being assaulted an average of seven times prior to the study period. The author summarizes the emotional, social, biophysiological, and cognitive responses of the respondents and notes that a major finding was the large number of staff who indicated they had no reactions to the assault. She speculates that staff may be unable to admit their reactions even to themselves and discusses some possible reasons for that situation.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Hospitals, Psychiatric
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nurse-Patient Relations*
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / psychology*
  • Risk
  • Violence*