The Risk Factors to Workplace Violence Against Nurses And The Prevention Strategies
Updated: Feb 6
The prevalence of workplace violence among nurses remains high despite its detrimental impact on nurse productivity and quality care delivery. Nurses are the largest and most readily available workforce in the healthcare industry. However, their security for optimal service delivery is threatened by workplace violence in hospitals and health systems, as they are not adequately protected against it.
This has contributed to poor health indices, resulting in a growing prevalence of workplace violence directed towards nurses. Violence against nurses in their workplace is a major challenge that has garnered increased attention in recent years (Piche, 2020).
The Risk Factors to Workplace Violence For Nurses
A study has revealed two major risk factors for workplace violence: staff shortage and prolonged waiting time by patients. This finding is consistent with previous research conducted by Ahmad et al. (2015), which observed that long waiting times were a contributing factor to workplace violence in Jordan.
Furthermore, the study's findings align with Abdellah and Salama (2017), who found that most violence occurred due to patient waiting time. A study by Chaiwuth et al. (2020) also confirmed that high patient workload per nurse was a risk factor for workplace violence.
However, the study results contrast with Ayamolowo et al. (2020), who identified communication gaps between patients and healthcare providers, delayed diagnosis, and patient deaths as the primary causes of workplace violence in a Nigerian teaching hospital.
The study also found that patient negligence by doctors was a major risk factor. Nurses often face retaliation from patients and their relatives when doctors fail to attend to patients, particularly those admitted to wards.
Additionally, the study results show that patient deaths were a contributing factor to workplace violence, a finding supported by Buowari et al. (2022).
Finally, the study highlighted the misconduct of patients' relatives as a risk factor for workplace violence against nurses, which is consistent with the findings of Fida et al. (2018).
These contrasting results could be due to contextual differences between the studies.
The chart shows that reporting of workplace violence (40.99%) is the first and most existent
prevention of workplace violence, then action committee against workplace violence (18.73%)
followed by working policies (7.77%), employee safety training and continuing education
(4.24%) and lastly, intermittent employee/client surveys on workplace violence (0.71%).
The Healthcare Facility Measures on Preventing Workplace Violence
A study found that 73.85% of nurses were aware of preventive measures against workplace violence in their facility, but only 50.88% had applied these measures. The most acknowledged preventive measure was the reporting of workplace violence, followed by the presence of an action committee against workplace violence, working policies, employee safety training, and client surveys on workplace violence.
These findings align with Askarzai and Mohan (2019), who noted that creating awareness, implementing prevention policies, having a reporting system, and educating employees are essential in preventing workplace violence.
However, 20.85% of nurses had not applied any preventive measures, while 50.88% had applied some measures. This finding is similar to Weldehawaryat et al. (2020), which revealed that 57.4% of nurses who experienced physical violence did not apply any preventive measures, while 42.6% did. This variation could be due to nurses not knowing how to apply preventive measures or that they have come to view violence as a norm.
Workplace Violence Training For Nurses In Healthcare
Violence prevention training is essential for healthcare workers to ensure a safe and secure working environment. Here are some suggestions for implementing effective training programs:
Tailored training content: Training should be tailored to the specific needs and risks of the healthcare facility, addressing both physical and non-physical violence prevention strategies.
Risk assessment: Conduct a facility-specific risk assessment to identify potential hazards and develop appropriate prevention strategies.
Facility policies and procedures: Ensure that all employees are familiar with the facility's policies and procedures related to workplace violence prevention, including reporting and emergency response protocols.
Communication: Train staff in effective communication techniques to de-escalate potentially violent situations and maintain a respectful and professional environment.
Post-incident debriefing: Provide support and counseling for employees involved in violent incidents and conduct a debriefing to identify areas for improvement in the facility's prevention strategies.
Employee involvement: Encourage employees to actively participate in the development and implementation of violence prevention training programs to ensure their needs and concerns are addressed.
Regular evaluation: Regularly evaluate the effectiveness of the training program and make adjustments as needed to ensure it remains relevant and effective.
By implementing these suggestions, healthcare facilities can create a comprehensive violence prevention training program that promotes a safe and secure working environment for all employees.
Implications for Research and Practice
The study identifies risk factors and preventive measures related to workplace violence in various healthcare facilities. It is crucial for managers at all levels to identify facility-specific risks and address them while implementing robust policies to tackle this challenge. Ensuring a safe environment for nurses is essential in providing optimal care to patients.
Workplace violence is a predictable and preventable issue. Key risk factors include staff shortage, prolonged waiting time for patients, patient negligence by doctors, and patient deaths. Preventive measures include reporting procedures for workplace violence. A zero-tolerance policy for workplace violence should be adopted in all health facilities by addressing these risk factors and implementing preventive measures.
Violence Prevention and Self Defense Resources
The Center for Violence Prevention and Self Defense (CVPSD) is a non profit 501(C)(3) with a mission to stop violence by educating at-risk people and empower them with the skills needed to protect themselves by providing online and live training.
Through workshops and seminars we educate participants about violence prevention and guide them on assessing risk factors while establishing boundaries in relationships. Additionally practical self defense classes equip people with hands on skills and effective strategies to prevent and intervene in cases of assault. CVPSD reaches individuals and communities through partnerships with schools and other nonprofits, community groups, as well as classes for the public.