Violent behaviour from young adults and the parents of paediatric patients in the emergency department

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Journal Article
International Emergency Nursing, 2013, 21 (3), pp. 157 - 162
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Violence in healthcare is a significant issue and one that is increasing in prevalence globally. Nurses have been identified as the professional group at most risk, with patients the main source of this violence. The aim of this study was to describe the experiences of Australian ED nurses with episodes of patient-related violence from young adults (16-25. years of age) and the parents of paediatric patients. Data analysis of semi-structured interviews led to the identification of antecedents to episodes of violence and behaviours specific to these two groups of interest. These behaviours included: "performing" and attention-seeking behaviours and violent behaviours including both verbal and physical abuse. Antecedents discussed by participants included: parental emotions and alcohol and substance abuse. Overall the results speak to a working environment where participants regularly feel unsafe. Violence in the ED is perceived to occur frequently and to such an extent that participants have become resigned to expect and accept it as part of their job. The role played by distinct groups such as young adults and the parents of paediatric patients must be acknowledged and this knowledge used along with other known risk factors to help identify patients at risk of potential violence. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.
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