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Workplace Violence in Healthcare Settings: Risk Factors and Protective Strategies

Authors

  • Gordon Lee Gillespie PhD RN PHCNS-BC,

    Assistant Professor, Corresponding author
      gordon.gillespie@uc.edu
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    • Gordon Lee Gillespie, PhD RN PHCNS-BC, is an assistant professor at University of Cincinnati, College of Nursing in Cincinnati, OH.

  • Donna M. Gates EdD RN FAAN,

    ProfessorSearch for more papers by this author
    • Donna M. Gates, EdD RN FAAN, is a professor at University of Cincinnati, College of Nursing in Cincinnati, OH.

  • Margaret Miller EdD CNS RN,

    ProfessorSearch for more papers by this author
    • Margaret Miller, EdD CNS RN, is professor emeritus at University of Cincinnati, College of Nursing in Cincinnati, OH.

  • Patricia Kunz Howard PhD RN CEN FAEN

    Operations ManagerSearch for more papers by this author
    • Patricia Kunz Howard, PhD RN CEN FAEN, is operations manager at UK Chandler Hospital Emergency & Trauma Services in Lexington, KY.


gordon.gillespie@uc.edu

Abstract

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.

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