Examination of Violence Against Emergency Department Nurses: Identifying Risks
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Objective: The objective of this project was an examination of perceptions, risks, and experiences of workplace violence committed against nurses working in two high-volume, academic emergency departments located in the Midwestern US, occurring in the year preceding the study. Background: Emergency department (ED) nurses are at risk to be victims of workplace violence from patients and visitors because of the inherently stressful environment. High rates of violence against ED registered nurses (RNs) are associated with low reporting rates and a perception that violence is a part of the job. Methods: RNs (n=171) from two Midwestern US, high-volume, academic EDs were surveyed using a 20-item, non-experimental, retrospective, cross-sectional survey. Results: The percentage of nurses in ED1 and ED2 reported that workplace violence remained the same or increased was 99 and 97.8 respectively. Approximately 49% of ED1 RNs and 85% of ED2 RNs felt that workplace violence was a part of their job. Approximately 68% of ED1 RNs and 80% of ED2 RNs report experiencing physical violence at least quarterly. Perceived precipitating factors of the violent acts at both sites are psychiatric patients, crowding/high volume, drug seeking, boarding patients, alcohol/drug intoxication, and prolonged wait times. Conclusion: In conclusion, it is clear that workplace violence against ED nursing staff is a concerning issue with multiple alarming perceptions and findings regarding workplace safety. The clinical significance of the data implies a need for increased attention to and re-evaluation of current prevention training, risk identification, safety measures, and reporting processes.
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