Get access

STAMP: components of observable behaviour that indicate potential for patient violence in emergency departments

Authors

  • Lauretta Luck,

    1. Lauretta Luck BA MA RN Senior Lecturer School of Nursing, Midwifery and Nutrition, James Cook University, Queensland, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Debra Jackson,

    1. Debra Jackson BHSc MN PhD DipNsg RN Associate Professor of Nursing Associate School of Nursing, College of Social Health Sciences, University of Western Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Kim Usher

    1. Kim Usher BA MNursS PhD RN RPN RMRN DNE DHS Professor of Nursing and Head of School School of Nursing, Midwifery and Nutrition, James Cook University, Queensland, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author

L. Luck:
e-mail: lauretta.luck@jcu.edu.au

Abstract

Aim.  This paper is the report of a study to explicate the components of observable behaviour that indicate a potential for violence in patients, their family and friends when presenting at an emergency department.

Background.  Violence towards nurses is a contemporary, multifaceted problem for the healthcare workforce globally. International literature identifies emergency departments as having high levels of violence.

Method.  A mixed method case study design was adopted, and data were collected by means of 290 hours of participant observation, 16 semi-structured interviews and 13 informal field interviews over a 5-month period in 2005. Thematic analysis of textual data was undertaken using NVivo2. Frequency counts were developed from the numerical data.

Findings.  Five distinctive elements of observable behaviour indicating potential for violence in patients, their families and friends were identified. These elements can be conceptualized as a potential nursing violence assessment framework and described through the acronym STAMP: Staring and eye contact, Tone and volume of voice, Anxiety, Mumbling and Pacing.

Conclusion.  Staring and eye contact, Tone and volume of voice, Anxiety, Mumbling and Pacing provides a useful, practical nursing violence assessment framework to assist nurses to quickly identify patients, families and friends who have a potential for violence.

Ancillary