Purpose: To determine the frequency and sources of verbal abuse against nurses working in clinical settings in different hospitals in the last 12 months, to identify nurses' perceptions about verbal abuse, and to determine types of emotions experienced by nurses who had encountered verbal abuse.
Design and sample: This descriptive study was conducted in May 2001 in Turkey. Data were collected from 467 nurses working in various clinical settings in three hospitals.
Methods: The instrument was a 23-item questionnaire on verbal abuse. Data were evaluated using frequency and descriptive statistics.
Findings: The findings revealed that the majority of nurses had experienced verbal abuse in the last 12 months (86.7%, n= 405). Most nurses (92%) reported that verbal abuse negatively affected their morale. The most common sources of verbal abuse were patients' relatives and patients themselves.
Conclusions: Workplace verbal abuse events cannot always be anticipated. Contingency plans to handle potential situations should be developed.