Emotional, verbal, and physical violence against nurses in the workplace is increasing in both frequency and severity globally. The common types of violence against nurses include physical harassment, direct physical assault, verbal and physical harassment, verbal or written threats, and homicides. According to Henderson et al., (2018), nurses are at a high risk of being physically and verbally threatened by patients and patient’s families or friends. Violence against nurses is commonly experienced in psychiatric, emergency units, nursing homes, and long-term care than in general clinical environments. Among nurses, psychiatric nurses experience the highest victimization rates. Reports from World Health Organization indicate that 8-38% of nurses, experience physical violence and verbal abuse, of which incidences of verbal abuse are much higher. It was also found that there are higher incidences of visitor violence against nurses than patient violence against nurses of frustrations between visitors and nurses concerning patient care and high-stress conditions.
Violence against nurses has detrimental effects on nurses and the workplace environment. Some of the effects include anxiety, frustration, fear, anger, sleep disorders, increased posttraumatic stress disorder, and physical injury, including loss of consciousness and death. Risks of violence against nurses can be minimized or prevented if the healthcare management takes necessary precautions or measures. The healthcare facility management should establish prevalence, degree, and type of violence and adopt appropriate training for nurses and conduct education for public awareness to reduce or prevent violence against nurses. The management should also come up with a concise reporting system for nurses to report violent cases for appropriate action. Proper leadership support and reporting tools will help encourage nurses to engage the management and reduce non-reporting incidences.
Ahmad, M., Al-Rimawi, R., and Masadeh, A. (2015). Workplace violence by patients and their families against nurses: Literature review. International Journal of Nursing and Health Science, 2(4), 46-55.
Henderson, L., Kamp, B., Niedbalski, K. (2018). Nurses‟ perspectives on patient and visitor violence: A qualitative study. International Journal of Studies in Nursing; 3(2), 117-125. doi:10.20849/ijsn.v3i2.427