Emergency nurses experience a myriad of negative consequences associated with workplace assault. The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences of emergency nurses using the Ecological Occupational Health Model of Workplace Assault.
A descriptive qualitative design was used for this study. Data from 167 emergency nurse participants who described an episode of workplace assault were analyzed using a conventional content analysis method.
Fourteen codes emerged from the qualitative data that related to 4 categories for the theme, Outcomes of Workplace Assault. The category “Consequences of Assault to Patients and Visitors” was supported by the following codes: use of limit setting; being evicted or removed from the emergency department; having charges pressed or being arrested; use of restraints; and retaliation against aggressor. “Effects on the Worker” was supported by the following codes: physical outcomes and response; psychological outcomes and response; physical support from peers; apologies; and debriefing/supportive care. “Effects on the Workplace” was supported by the following codes: calling for and response by police or security; and visitor response, support, or assistance. “Effects on Patient Care” was supported by the following codes: impact to treatment and work productivity.
Workplace assault in the ED setting is associated with consequences of workplace assault to patients and visitors as well as negative effects to emergency nurses, the workplace, and patient care. Emergency nurses need to seek and also offer emotional support after workplace assault. Providing support could serve as a deterrent to retaliation while minimizing potential adverse impacts to nurses’ psychological health and work productivity.
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Gordon Lee Gillespie, Member, Greater Cincinnati Chapter, is a Professor, University of Cincinnati College of Nursing, Cincinnati, OH. Twitter: @glgillespie2. ORCID identifier: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0231-1123.
Peggy Berry is Owner, Thrive at Life, Dayton, OH. Twitter: @PberryRN. ORCID identifier: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0231-1123.
Published online: October 20, 2022
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