Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Coulter, Katherine

Degree Name

B.S. (Bachelor of Science)

Legacy Department

School of Nursing and Health Studies


Abstract Purpose. The purpose of this study was to determine how often workplace violence occurs in the emergency department, how it effects nurses, and how nurses cope with these acts of violence. Background. Over the past few years, violence in hospital emergency rooms has drastically increased, causing injury to both patients and hospital staff. Often times, this violence has gone unreported and unresolved, leading to the occurrence of even more violent acts. Unfortunately, in stressful environments such as the emergency room, this violence contributes to additional stress for the hospital staff, such as nurses. This stress can negatively affect nurses and prevent them from properly performing their job. Method. Participants were asked to complete an 11 question qualitative questionnaire pertaining to their experiences with workplace violence in the emergency department. This questionnaire examined how often they themselves experience violence and how often they see it. Participants shared their own definition of workplace violence along with the types that they experience on a daily basis. The questionnaire assessed how this violence effects them personally, both physically and psychologically. Participants shared how they cope with this added stress through an open ended answer. Results. 72% of participants reported that they experienced themselves or saw workplace violence occurring every shift they worked. Most violence that occurred was physical violence in which nurses had reported that they are now less compassionate because of it. Many nurses reported that they utilized their coworkers support in order to cope with the violence they experienced. Conclusion. Overall, violence in the emergency department is a serious issue that needs to be addressed further. Violence occurs daily for many nurses and causes detrimental effects like decreased compassion and burnout, which in turn can affect both nurses and their patients. Recommendations. Further research should be conducted to evaluate this information further. It may also be beneficial for hospitals to provide extra support for nursing and other healthcare staff who experience stress related to workplace violence. More preventative measures should be in place regarding violence prevention. Keywords. Workplace violence, emergency department, coping mechanisms, violence prevention.


22 pages




Northern Illinois University

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