Workplace Violence in Nursing

Workplace violence (WV) manifests itself in different shapes and forms yet has the same detrimental effect on both nurses and patients in the environment of modern healthcare. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, WV represents “violent acts, including physical assaults and threats of assault, directed toward persons at work or on duty”.

The presence of WV affects the lives of its victims and reduces the quality of care drastically, thus remaining relevant in the modern healthcare context. Whether it is aimed at nursing staff members or patients, WV destroys relationships and poisons them, making trust, communication, and, thus healing impossible.

Personally, I experienced WV when a family member of one of the inpatients attempted at attacking me and nearly committing a physical assault. I must admit that I may have handled the communication process better and taken the emotional strain of the family member mentioned above into account.

However, in my defense, I had to work double shifts due to the understaffing issue in our healthcare facility, hence the failure to be empathetic enough. Specifically, the patient’s brother claimed that I had paid not enough attention to the patient, to which I replied that everything possible was being done. However, returning to my duties, I heard the visitor raising his voice and realized that he was grabbing me by the shoulder rather forcefully.

Luckily, the nurse manager noticed a conflict and intervened to assist me with negotiations. As soon as the issue was clarified and we convinced the visitor that we were making our best efforts, he begrudgingly agreed to leave. Unfortunately, the specified situation is a rather frequent occurrence in nursing, and it needs to be addressed by reconsidering the existing safety standards and patient-nurse communication principles.

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