Violence Against Nurses and its Impact on Stress and Productivity

Donna M. Gates, EdD, RN, FAAN; Gordon L. Gillespie, PhD, RN, FAEN; Paul Succop, PhD


Nurs Econ. 2011;29(2):59-67. 

In This Article


Workplace violence is a significant problem for ED nurses and has a direct relationship to experiences of negative stress, decreased work productivity, and quality of patient care. It is critical prevention and management of violence be a priority for hospital administration and ED management. Foremost, violence should never be accepted and tolerated as part of the job. Second, workplace policies and procedures are needed that focus on the security of the environment, reporting and surveillance, and education for all employees and managers on how to prevent and manage violence. When violence does occur, it is critical that formal or informal debriefing be offered to ED nurses experiencing violence.

Future research should be conducted to identify best practices for preventing violence and for the provision of stress debriefing after a violent incident. Research also needs to be conducted to determine the relationship of violence severity to the change in work productivity. In addition, it is not clear why some ED nurses appear to be cognitively resilient to the stressful effects of violence and the consequences it has on work performance. It is also important to examine how violence affects the stress and work productivity of nurses working in other hospital departments.


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