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The Impact of a Violent Physical Assault on a Registered Nurse: Her Healing Journey and Return to Work

Graham, Holly RN, PhD, RD Psych (Provisional)

doi: 10.1097/JFN.0000000000000142
Case Reports

ABSTRACT Healthcare practitioners are at an increased risk for workplace violence. What happens to a practitioner after a devastating physical assault from a patient in the workplace? This case report describes the impact of a violent assault on a registered nurse and her healing journey and return to the workplace. The Department of Veteran Affairs/Department of Defense “Clinical Practice Guidelines for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder” outline three categories of risk factors that are associated with the development of posttraumatic stress disorder: pretraumatic factors, peritraumatic or trauma-related factors, and posttraumatic factors. Each of these risk factors can contribute to the likelihood of an individual developing posttraumatic stress disorder after a traumatic incident and will be used to frame the discussion of this case. The registered nurse gave her full and informed consent for the author to tell her story.

Case Report Editor: Dr. Brian McKenna, School of Clinical Sciences, Auckland University of Technology,

Author Affiliation: College of Nursing, University of Saskatchewan.

The author declares no conflict of interest.

Correspondence: Holly Graham, RN, PhD, RD Psych (Provisional), College of Nursing, University of Saskatchewan, 104 Clinic Place, 4224 Health Sciences Building E-Wing, Saskatoon, SK S7N 2Z4, Canada. E-mail:

Received August 9, 2016; accepted for publication January 15, 2017.

© 2017 by the International Association of Forensic Nurses. All rights reserved.
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