Perceived aggression towards nurses: study in two Italian health institutions

Authors

  • Alessandra Zampieron,

    1. Authors:Alessandra Zampieron, RN, BSN, MSN, DDSI, Registered Nurse, School of Nursing, University of Padua; Marilena Galeazzo, RN, BSN, MSN, DDSI, Registered Nurse, Nursing Management Department, Padua’s University and City Hospitals; Susanna Turra, RN, BSN, MSN, DDSI, Registered Nurse, Nursing Management Department, Padua’s University and City Hospitals; Alessandra Buja, MD, PhD, Medical Statistician, Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health, University of Padua, Padua, Italy
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  • Marilena Galeazzo,

    1. Authors:Alessandra Zampieron, RN, BSN, MSN, DDSI, Registered Nurse, School of Nursing, University of Padua; Marilena Galeazzo, RN, BSN, MSN, DDSI, Registered Nurse, Nursing Management Department, Padua’s University and City Hospitals; Susanna Turra, RN, BSN, MSN, DDSI, Registered Nurse, Nursing Management Department, Padua’s University and City Hospitals; Alessandra Buja, MD, PhD, Medical Statistician, Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health, University of Padua, Padua, Italy
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  • Susanna Turra,

    1. Authors:Alessandra Zampieron, RN, BSN, MSN, DDSI, Registered Nurse, School of Nursing, University of Padua; Marilena Galeazzo, RN, BSN, MSN, DDSI, Registered Nurse, Nursing Management Department, Padua’s University and City Hospitals; Susanna Turra, RN, BSN, MSN, DDSI, Registered Nurse, Nursing Management Department, Padua’s University and City Hospitals; Alessandra Buja, MD, PhD, Medical Statistician, Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health, University of Padua, Padua, Italy
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  • Alessandra Buja

    1. Authors:Alessandra Zampieron, RN, BSN, MSN, DDSI, Registered Nurse, School of Nursing, University of Padua; Marilena Galeazzo, RN, BSN, MSN, DDSI, Registered Nurse, Nursing Management Department, Padua’s University and City Hospitals; Susanna Turra, RN, BSN, MSN, DDSI, Registered Nurse, Nursing Management Department, Padua’s University and City Hospitals; Alessandra Buja, MD, PhD, Medical Statistician, Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health, University of Padua, Padua, Italy
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Errata

This article is corrected by:

  1. Errata: Erratum Volume 20, Issue 11-12, 1796, Article first published online: 10 May 2011

Alessandra Zampieron, Registered Nurse, Corso di Laurea in Infermieristica, Azienda Ospedaliera di Padova, Via Giustiniani 2, 35010 Padova (PD), Italy. Telephone: +39 0498211255.
E-mail:alessandra.zampieron@unipd.it

Abstract

Aims.  The goal of the present study was to quantify the perceived aggression towards nurses working in two Italian health care institutions and to verify the hypothesis of an association between the characteristics of aggressors and the type of aggression.

Background.  Violence and aggressiveness, particularly aimed at nurses, are a common, but inadequately investigated phenomenon in Italian health care institutions.

Design.  A cross-sectional study.

Methods.  The study was performed, studying a sample of 700 nurses (37% of the personnel in 94 units) in two health care institutions in northeast Italy using an anonymous multiple-choice questionnaire.

Results.  Forty-nine percent of the nurses responded that they had experienced aggression in the previous year, 82% of that was only verbal. This happened more often to female nurses working in the emergency department and in geriatric and psychiatric units. A statistically significant association (p < 0·001) was found between the perception of fatigue, stress and work dissatisfaction and the frequency of aggression. Aggressors were usually patients or their relatives (57%) and were mainly men (66%). Fifty-three percent of assaulted nurses did not ask for help after the event.

Conclusions.  This study confirms the high incidence of perceived, mainly verbal aggression towards nurses.

Relevance to clinical practice.  Action to prevent aggressive episodes may include concentrating on job motivation, encouraging participatory leadership and promoting the best possible working conditions. The absence of any systematic event reporting and documentation makes the assaulted workers feel defenceless.

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