The prevalence of violence in healthcare is reported to be greater than in other occupational settings. Research has found, for example, that nurses are subjected to more acts of violence than police officers or prison guards.
The International Council of Nurses reported that “Nurses are the healthcare workers most at risk, with female nurses considered the most vulnerable.” According to a recent U.S. study published in the New England Journal of Medicine:
“Health care workplace violence is an underreported, ubiquitous, and persistent problem that has been tolerated and largely ignored.”
The study found that healthcare workers required time off work due to violence four times more often than other types of injury. It also identiﬁed that the most frequent victims were nurses and nursing aides.
Patient caregivers in home care, emergency departments, psychiatric units, and dementia units were found to be particularly at risk. Similar ﬁndings have been reported in other U.S. studies.
The findings of Canadian studies share many similarities to those in research conducted across the globe. A study of Alberta and British Columbia nurses, which explored the effects of both physical and emotional abuse, recommended “targeting prevention strategies not only at the nurse but, perhaps more importantly, at the hospital. Overall, the ﬁndings suggest that healthcare institutions are not always healthy workplaces and may increasingly be stressful and hazardous ones.”
Online Violence Survey
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