Workplace violence against Iranian nurses working in emergency departments


Mahvash Salsali, Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Eastern-Nosrat Street, Tohid Square, P.O. Box 1419733171 Tehran, Iran; Tel: (+98) 21 66 42 07 39; Fax: (+98) 21 66 90 42 52; E-mail:


ESMAEILPOUR M., SALSALI M. & AHMADI F. (2011) Workplace violence against Iranian nurses working in emergency departments. International Nursing Review58, 130–137

Background:  Nurses working in emergency departments (EDs) are in the most danger of workplace violence (WPV) because of the critical nature of the wards.

Aims:  This study aimed to find the frequency and nature of physical and verbal WPV against Iranian nurses working in EDs.

Methods:  A cross-sectional study was carried out using consensus sampling of 196 bachelor's degree nurses working in 11 EDs of teaching hospitals in Tehran, Iran. The data were collected through the adapted version of a self-administered questionnaire developed by the International Labor Office/International Council of Nurses/World Health Organization/Public Services International on WPV in the health sector. The gathered data were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics.

Results:  The participants were mostly (89.1%) female and their work experiences (63.2%) in nursing were between 1 and 5 years; 19.7% of the nurses had faced physical violence. All of the physical violence incidents were without-weapon; 91.6% of the participants experienced verbal abuse during the past year. Patients' relatives were the most common source of violence. Dissatisfaction was reported on the way the incidents were handled.

Conclusion:  It is believed that finding the pattern and nature of WPV is the first step to develop suitable strategies to deal with the issue. Establishing WPV management teams and enacting appropriate laws can improve workplace safety for nurses and patients' care quality.