Workplace violence against healthcare workers is on the rise

Workplace violence against healthcare workers is on the rise. For the last decade, workplace violence cases have increased drastically, leading to the need to find possible solutions to the issue. The nursing profession is the occupation that is most affected by the trend as nurses have to deal with patients, their families, colleagues, and supervisors. Workplace violence in nursing can be described as any physical or psychological damaging action when on duty. The effects of such violence lead to serious injuries and time off work. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 13% of days away from work are related to workplace violence/. Workplace violence includes physical assault, with or without a weapon, verbal threats and harassments, and homicide.  The National In statute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) classifies workplace violence into four categories. The nursing profession and the healthcare industry experiences type II and II:

  • Type II: Involves the customer, client, or patient. The individual has a relationship with business and becomes violent when receiving services.
  • Type III: Violence is between colleagues. There is a relationship between workers and employees who attack or threaten other employees (American Nurses Association, 2020).

Importance of the Topic

Workplace violence is on the increase. It affects how nurses perform their duties and the efficiency through which nurses offer such care. Workplace violence leads to instances of burnout and dissatisfaction with work. This could lead to high nursing turnover rates if nurses feel that the management is not supportive of dealing with the issue. Therefore, it is important to study workplace violence in nursing to understand the major causes of such violence. Understanding the root causes is the first step in deriving possible solutions to the issue (Hartley et al., 2015).  The topic is essential as it affects healthcare delivery within healthcare facilities. The problem has a negative impact on major stakeholders in the healthcare delivery system. If a nurse is in conflict or has been verbally or physically abused by a colleague or supervisor, it might affect how they perform their duties. That, in turn, affects the safety and quality of care delivered to the patient leading to poor outcomes.

The Article

Daniel et al. (2019) discuss the impacts of workplace violence in nursing through their article. The article shows that the nursing profession is most affected by such type of violence compared to any other occupation in the United States. The authors show that nurses do not report most violent cases as they feel that it is their duty to go through such. Another reason is the profit-oriented business models of healthcare organizations that prevent them from holding clients responsible for the nurses’ unethical behavior. The authors suggest various ways through which healthcare organizations could deal with the issue. The first solution is training on violence prevention that is offered online by NIOSH. The online course assists nurses and other healthcare workers on what constitutes workplace violence and the risk factors of such violence on the nurse, the employer, and the patient. The training contains case studies and life examples of nurses that have experienced workplace violence before.  The unit also has an interactive self-check that ensures the nurse has understood the concepts of the unit. Such training makes it easier for nurses to understand when their rights are being violated at the workplace and take the appropriate action. The article shows a survey carried out on participants using NIOSH training. The results showed that more than 90% of the participants found the course a bridge between the knowledge gaps in relation to the issue.

The best solution to the issue is training nurses on the way to identify workplace violence and putting hefty penalties on any individual involved in workplace violence. The training should also be aimed at healthcare facility administrators to make sure that patients and employees involved in workplace violence take full responsibility.  Penalties are likely to reduce workplace violence instances as the trend will become an illegal activity within the healthcare industry. Workplace violence should be treated as a criminal offense as it does affect not only the well being of the nurse but also the safety and quality of care.

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