This study aimed to examine the relationship between absenteeism in nurses and disturbed and/or violent incidents in patients. It was conducted in the Interim Secure Psychiatric Unit at the Bethlem Royal Hospital, London (which later transferred to the Denis Hill Unit) during 1985. Data was gathered from sickness figures recorded on the ward and in the nursing administration office. Violence records were collected from incident reports made by all grades of nursing staff. The hypothesis to be tested was that as violence increased then staff sickness would decrease. Results indicate that such a correlation is not present. However, staff sickness was significantly concentrated around days off. Some considerations for future research are given.