Violence: Not in My Job Description

Laura A. Stokowski, RN, MS


August 23, 2010

In This Article

The Consequences of Workplace Violence

Occupational violence has been associated with reduced productivity, increased turnover, absenteeism, counselling costs, decreased staff morale, and reduced quality of life.[15]Another consequence of the abuse is deteriorating quality of patient care.[21]The visible or tangible effects of violence are physical injury and disability, but violence has other, less obvious consequences. Difficulty sleeping, poor job performance, declining morale, chronic pain, nightmares, and flashbacks have all been described by nurses in the aftermath of violence. Physically injured nurses commonly fail to seek treatment for their injuries. Psychologic and emotional effects include fear of recurrent assault and feelings of helplessness, irritability, and sadness.[15]

"There is a real, human cost to workplace violence. Nurses who are assaulted have higher levels of anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and substance abuse – this is human capital that is being lost," cautions Child. "In a profession that is defined by caring, it is unacceptable that we don't demonstrate caring about each other's well being enough to take the physical and psychological repercussions of workplace violence more seriously."


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