Antecedents and precipitants of patient-related violence in the emergency department: Results from the Australian VENT Study (Violence in Emergency Nursing and Triage)

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Journal Article
Australasian Emergency Nursing Journal, 2017, 20 (3), pp. 107 - 113
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© 2017 College of Emergency Nursing Australasia Introduction Workplace violence is one of the most significant and hazardous issues faced by nurses globally. It is a potentially life-threatening and life-affecting workplace hazard often downplayed as just “part of the job” for nurses. Methods A cross-sectional design was used and data were collected using a purpose developed survey tool. Surveys were distributed to all members of the College of Emergency Nurses’ Australasia (CENA) in 2010 and 537 eligible responses were received (RR = 51%). Results Patient-related violence was reported by 87% of nurses in the last six months. Precipitants and antecedents for episodes of violence were reported in three categories: nurse-related; patient-related and emergency-department specific factors. Triaging was identified as the highest risk nursing activity, and the triage area identified as the highest risk location in the department. Patients who presented with alcohol intoxication, substance misuse or mental health issues were identified as the groups at greatest risk for potential violence. Discussion Patient-related violence was reported by the majority of emergency nurses surveyed. A number of precipitants and antecedents perceived to be risk factors by participants were found to be significant and are unavoidable in the working lives of emergency department nurses.
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