Nursing Workplace Violence and How to Address It

Table of Contents

Nursing Care Issue

The problem of nursing care violence has been in existence for a while, yet it has only recently started receiving attention. In the realm of contemporary nursing, violent behaviors displayed by patients are shockingly common (Speroni, Fitch, Dawson, Dugan, & Atherton, 2014). The effects of the identified phenomenon on nurses are beyond drastic. Among the health problems that nurses may experience as a result of workplace violence, depression and even suicidal tendencies are very common (Spector, Zhou, & Che, 2014).

Therefore, a profound analysis of the subject matter must be carried out. Because of workplace violence in a nursing setting, motivation levels among nurses gradually drop, leading to deterioration of service quality. By introducing a more coherent approach toward meeting the needs of staff and especially ensuring nurses’ safety, one will be able to reduce the instances of violence, as well as promote a healthier environment in the nursing setting and focus on providing better services to patients.


Nurses are exposed to the threat of verbal and physical assaults in the setting of their workplace (Spector et al., 2014). Studies show that the observed phenomenon can be explained by the lack of control over patients with aggressive and violent behaviors (Speroni et al., 2014). The problem of violence in a nursing setting is a reason for serious concerns since it leads to major negative outcomes for not only nurses but also patients.

For instance, nurses face the threat of developing physical and mental health issues due to being attacked by patients. Physical problems may vary from bruises to the traumas that may affect nurses’ health in a significant way. Mental problems, in turn, may range from the development of stressfulness to the emergence of depression and even suicidal tendencies among nurses (Cashmore, Indig, Hampton, Hegney, & Jalaludin, 2016). In addition, workplace burnouts have become a very common problem in no small part due to violence in the nursing setting (Spector et al., 2014).

Patients, in turn, also face negative consequences as a result of their violent outbursts. First and most obvious, the quality of care plummets because of a drop in the number of competent nurses and the levels of motivation among them (Speroni et al., 2014). In addition, the communication process deteriorates rapidly with the rise in violence rates in a nursing setting. The resulting lack of patient-centered strategies used by nurses and the propensity among them toward alienating themselves from patients causes an even greater quality problem since patients are unable to communicate their needs to nurses.

To prevent the specified scenario from taking place in a nursing setting, one will have to deploy both short- and long-term strategies for altering patients’ behaviors. The short-term approach will require mediating communication between patients and nurses to ensure that the former should not cause any harm to the latter. The long-term strategy, in turn, will require changing patients’ behaviors and attitudes. The identified goal can be met by offering patients a nurse-led treatment that will help them change their attitude toward nurses and shape their behaviors accordingly.


Because of traumas that nurses receive in the workplace setting, as well as the psychological and mental issues that they develop due to violent outbursts among patients, strategies for mitigating aggression must be introduced into the target setting. A shift in values toward recognizing the needs of the nursing staff will have to take place. In addition, tools for shaping patients’ behavior will have to be designed.


Cashmore, A. W., Indig, D., Hampton, S. E., Hegney, D. G., & Jalaludin, B. B. (2016). Factors influencing workplace violence risk among correctional health workers: Insights from an Australian survey. Australian Journal of Primary Health, 22(5), 461-465. Web.

Spector, P. E., Zhou, Z. E., & Che, X. X. (2014). Nurse exposure to physical and nonphysical violence, bullying, and sexual harassment: A quantitative review. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 51(1), 72-84. Web.

Speroni, K. G., Fitch, T., Dawson, E., Dugan, L., & Atherton, M. (2014). Incidence and cost of nurse workplace violence perpetrated by hospital patients or patient visitors. Journal of Emergency Nursing, 40(3), 218-228. Web.

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