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Workplace Violence – Targeting Nurses

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CE1025 | Contact Hours: 2


The purpose of this activity is to inform nurses about violence within healthcare workplaces. After studying the information presented here, you will be able to:

1. Define workplace violence.
2. Describe the prevalence and incidence of workplace violence within health care settings.
3. Identify primary nursing professions targeted and perpetrators of violence.
4. Describe what constitutes workplace violence and the range of severity experienced by nurses.
5. Describe the effect workplace violence can have on nurses.
6. Describe steps to take to combat workplace violence and prevent being targeted.
7. Describe steps that are being taken to protect nurses.






Houston Richards, RN


All learners must complete the entire activity and complete the evaluation to receive contact hours.


This nursing continuing professional development activity was approved by the Ohio Nurses Association, an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation. (OBN-001-91).

In addition to states that accept American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) courses, CE Leaders is an approved provider by the Florida Board of Nursing, and a registered provider with the Arkansas State Board of Nursing, District of Columbia Board of Nursing, Georgia Board of Nursing, Kentucky Board of Nursing, New Mexico Board of Nursing, South Carolina Board of Nursing and West Virginia Board of Registered Nurses (Provider # 50-33450).


No one with the ability to control content of this activity has a relevant financial relationship with an ineligible company.


Nursing professionals are dedicated to promoting the health and wellness of the communities and patients they serve. Fulfilling this role has helped make nursing one of the most trusted and respected professions (2). Surprisingly, nurses are also one of the most heavily targeted for workplace violence. In fact, a recent study of 55 nursing professionals working in the emergency department revealed that 49 (89%) of them had experienced workplace violence (1). Although a number of factors contribute, being one of the most patient and family-accessible healthcare professionals plays a significant role (1). Accessibility coupled with high-stress situations where emotions run high can create a recipe for violent acts towards members of the nursing profession. As primary targets, nurses should learn and lead the charge to protect themselves and colleagues from violent encounters. By better understanding the prevalence, risks, severity and effects of workplace violence, nurses can help create a safer work environment that is more conducive to the delivery of excellent patient care.


1. Bernardes MLG, Karino ME, Martins JT, Okubo CVC, Galdino MJQ, Moreira AAO. Workplace violence among nursing professionals. Rev Bras Med Trab. 2021;18(3):250-257. Published 2021 Feb 11. doi:10.47626/1679-4435-2020-531.

2. Saad, L. Military brass, judges among professions at new image lows. Gallup. January 12, 2022. Accessed June 24,2022. Available at Accessed June 24, 2022.

3. Rozina Somani, Carles Muntaner, Edith Hillan, Alisa J. Velonis, Peter Smith. A systematic review: effectiveness of interventions to de-escalate workplace violence against nurses in healthcare settings. Safety and Health at Work. 2021;12(3):289-295. doi: 10.1016/

4. Havaei F. Does the Type of Exposure to Workplace Violence Matter to Nurses’ Mental Health? Healthcare. 2021; 9(1):41. Doi: 10.3390/healthcare9010041.

5. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Types of workplace violence. Updated February 7, 2020. Available at Accessed August 24, 2022.

6. Byon HD, Sagherian K, Kim Y, Lipscomb J, Crandall M, Steege L. Nurses’ experience with type II workplace violence and underreporting during the COVID-19 pandemic. Workplace Health & Safety. 2021. doi:10.1177/21650799211031233.

7. Escribano RB, Beneit J, Luis Garcia J. Violence in the workplace: some critical issues looking at the health sector. Heliyon. 2019; 5(3):e01283. doi: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2019.e01283.

8. United States Department of Labor. DOL workplace violence program. Available at Accessed August 24, 2022.

9. National Safety Council. Assault fourth leading cause of workplace deaths. Available at,Workplace%20violence%20can%20happen%20anywhere. Accessed August 24, 2022.

10. Lu L, Dong M, Wang S-B, et al. Prevalence of workplace violence against health-care professionals in china: a comprehensive meta-analysis of observational surveys. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse. 2020;21(3):498-509. doi:10.1177/1524838018774429.

11. United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Injuries, illnesses, and fatalities. Updated April 2020. Available at Accessed August 24, 2022.

12. Vento S, Cainelli F, Vallone A. Violence against healthcare workers: A worldwide phenomenon with serious consequences. Front Public Health. 2020;18(8):570459. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2020.570459.

13. Arnetz JE. The joint commission's new and revised workplace violence prevention standards for hospitals: A major step forward toward improved quality and safety. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2022; 48(4):241-245. doi: 10.1016/j.jcjq.2022.02.001.

14. American Journal of Managed Care. Violence against healthcare workers: A rising epidemic. Updated May 12, 2019. Available at Accessed August 24, 2022.

15. Celofiga A, Kores Plesnicar B, Koprivsek J, Moskon M, Benkovic D, Gregoric Kumperscak H. Effectiveness of de-escalation in reducing aggression and coercion in acute psychiatric units. A cluster randomized study. Front Psychiatry. 2022; 13:856153. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2022.856153.

16. The Joint Commission. De-escalation in health care. Updated January, 2019. Available at Accessed on August 24, 2022.

17. Shulman, A. Mitigating workplace violence via de-escalation training. Updated February 27, 2020. Available at Accessed on August 25, 2022.

18. Crisis Prevention Institute. CPI’s top 10 de-escalation tips. Updated January 18, 2017. Available at Accessed on August 25, 2022.

19. Occupational Health & Safety. Nurses are suffering more violence in the workplace. Updated Feb 10, 2020. Available at Accessed August 29,2022.

20. Chakraborty S, Mashreky SR, Dalal K. Violence against physicians and nurses: a systematic literature review. Journal of Public Health. 2022; 30: 1837-1855. doi: 10.1007/s10389-021-01689-6.

21. Mollica RF, Fernando D. When racial trauma is a chief complaint among health-care staff. The Lancet. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(20)32223-6.

22. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Workplace violence in healthcare. Available at Accessed on August 25, 2002.

23. 117th Congress. H.R. 1195 – Workplace violence prevention for health care and social service workers act. Updated April 19, 2021. Available at Accessed September 5, 2022.

24. Pich J, Roche M. Violence on the job: The experiences of nurses and midwives with violence from patients and their friends and relatives. Healthcare (Basel). 2020; 8(4):522. doi: 10.3390/healthcare8040522.

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