How prevalent is violence in the workplace?

World International


How prevalent is violence in the workplace for nurses? After reading several articles indicating that nurse deal with a lot of day to day violence I began to wonder how other's deal with this issue. When I began to read the article I first thought of violence as being physical but then read on to see that the article defined violence as being verbal abuse, physical abuse, sexual assault, and sexual harassment. I further surprised to read that violence in the workplace did not necessarily mean between nurse and patient but also between nurse and doctor and more horrifying in my opinion, between nurse and nurse.

I then looked at my own situation and could immediately remember two incidents of verbal abuse. In my first experience it was with an elderly lady who had dementia. My first reaction to the way she was treating me was to be hurt, and then I remembered her state of mind and I used a kind, firm voice and told she could not treat me like that and if she needed something she could ask me nicely. My second experience was a year later with an older gentleman who had all his faculties. He was unreasonable, irate, and called me several names for something that was out of my control. Again, I was hurt at first but then came anger at how unfair he was treating me. I became defensive and left the room. The 'event' in which he was angry over was not resolved or talked about again between us but I managed to find some commonality between us which kept my patient talking about happy times traveling around the country.

I don't know if I handle the situation properly or not but I am curious as to others and if they have experienced any violence in the work place? Also, how often would you say it occurs in a month for yourself? As well as how you handled the situation. Do you think there should be some sort of harassment policy developed within the workplace between nurse and patient? Or if there is one in place does it work? I'd like to hear everyone's thoughts on this subject.



adrienurse, LPN

1,275 Posts

I work on an Alzheimer's unit in Winnipeg and unfortunately getting hurt by those we care for is all too frequent. The problem is people start getting so used to it that they either expect it or stop reporting it because it's so commonplace. Its really sad. I'm always trying to promote the way of thinking that, wel,l if we come up with some creative solutions, maybe so and so won't get so agitated that they'll hurt us.

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