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A nurse standing up by a hospital bed, checking in on a violent patient laying down.
A nurse checking in on a violent patient.


A significant source of stress for nurses is workplace violence, which can trigger the decision to leave nursing, thus contributing to an already depleted profession.

In this section we consider some of the factors that lead to violence in the workplace, how it affects nurses and possible sources of support.

Nurses worldwide are at a high risk of exposure to workplace violence.

Violence takes many forms, ranging from verbal abuse, bullying and intimidation to physical assault. It may be perpetrated by patients, their relatives, peers and managerial staff.

You may be interested to read the WHO report in the ‘See also’ section at the bottom of the page, which brings together and summarises a number of country-based case studies on violence in the health sector.

It is aimed at stimulating further discussion in the area of workplace violence and to support sound policy-making.

Your task

How does violence at work contribute towards your stress or that of your colleagues? Do you think nursing is distinct from other workplaces in its exposure to violence?

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This article is from the free online course:

Nursing in Crisis? Exploring Current Challenges

Coventry University