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Workplace Violence in Healthcare Settings: Risk Factors and Protective Strategies

Gillespie, Gordon Lee PhD RN PHCNS-BC1; Gates, Donna M. EdD RN FAAN2; Miller, Margaret EdD CNS RN3; Howard, Patricia Kunz PhD RN CEN FAEN4

doi: 10.1002/j.2048-7940.2010.tb00045.x

This article describes the risk factors and protective strategies associated with workplace violence perpetrated by patients and visitors against healthcare workers. Perpetrator risk factors for patients and visitors in healthcare settings include mental health disorders, drug or alcohol use, inability to deal with situational crises, possession of weapons, and being a victim of violence. Worker risk factors are gender, age, years of experience, hours worked, marital status, and previous workplace violence training. Setting and environmental risk factors for experiencing workplace violence include time of day and presence of security cameras. Protective strategies for combating the negative consequences of workplace violence include carrying a telephone, practicing self-defense, instructing perpetrators to stop being violent, self- and social support, and limiting interactions with potential or known perpetrators of violence. Workplace violence is a serious and growing problem that affects all healthcare professionals. Strategies are needed to prevent workplace violence and manage the negative consequences experienced by healthcare workers following violent events.

1Gordon Lee Gillespie, PhD RN PHCNS-BC, is an assistant professor at University of Cincinnati, College of Nursing in Cincinnati, OH.

2Donna M. Gates, EdD RN FAAN, is a professor at University of Cincinnati, College of Nursing in Cincinnati, OH.

3Margaret Miller, EdD CNS RN, is professor emeritus at University of Cincinnati, College of Nursing in Cincinnati, OH.

4Patricia Kunz Howard, PhD RN CEN FAEN, is operations manager at UK Chandler Hospital Emergency & Trauma Services in Lexington, KY.

Assistant Professor


Operations Manager

Address correspondence to her

© 2010 Association of Rehabilitation Nurses.
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