Teaching Workplace Violence Prevention

Nurse sitting on the floor in the corridor hands on head

Workplace violence is an obstacle for healthcare professionals, and shouldn’t be ignored or labeled “part of the job.” Nurses must be able to provide care without concern for their personal safety. It’s in the best interest of the healthcare professional, facility, and patient to take steps to avoid workplace violence.

In the free, online course Workplace Violence Prevention for Nurses, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) explain that nurses can be impacted by four types of workplace violence.

    Type 1 violence involves criminal intent perpetrated by someone with no legitimate tie to the patient, nurse, or hospital and may include robbery or trespassing.

    Type 2 violence is often called client-on-worker violence and is the most common. Nurses should always be aware of the potential for type 2 workplace violence.

    Type 3 violence occurs among co-workers and typically involves verbal and emotional abuse.

    Type 4 violence includes violent personal relationships that spill into the work environment.

Preventative Measures for Workplace Violence

Educators can address on-the-job violence by offering strategies to prevent, identify, and plan for it. Here are a few lessons to develop:

  • Safety in attire: Teach proper techniques with long hair, jewelry, clothing tightness, and accessories.
  • High risk environments: Type 2 violence is most common in emergency, psychiatric, and geriatric settings.
  • Risk identification: Patients might verbally or nonverbally express impending violence. Teach signs such as loud speech, clenched fists, and sudden changes in behavior.
  • Reactive measures and planning: When workplace violence occurs, nurses should have a plan in place and be aware of emergency exits, phone numbers, and co-worker routines.
  • Reports and communication: A nurse experiencing workplace violence must know how to notify their supervisors and relay important details. By informing supervisors and co-workers, further violence can be avoided.

Through the use of role playing and simulated participants, classroom education on on-the-job violence can be integrated into your curriculum.

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