The Incidence Of Aggression And Violence Essay

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The incidence of aggression and violence in acute mental health settings is internationally recognised as an ongoing and significant issue (Gascon, Martinez-Jarreta, Gonzales-Andrade, Santed, Casalod & Rueda 2009). Although the problem is endemic among mental health professionals, nurses are at a higher risk of experiencing patient or family violence compared to other healthcare providers and auxiliary staff (Schablon, Zeh, Wendeler, Peters, Wohlert, Harling & Nienhaus 2012). Evidence suggests that psychiatric nurses are two times likely to be exposed to threats of assault than medical-surgical nursing. As well, psychiatric nurses are 1.4 times more likely to be physically assaulted and 1.8 times more likely to be emotionally abused compared to nurses working in all other types of units (Hesketh et al. 2003). It is also estimated that between 25% and 80% of nurses employed in acute care hospitals experience various types of aggression (Moylan & Cullinan 2011).

The impact of this high incidence of violence is on the role of nurses is well documented. In 2005, Needham, Abderhalden, Halfens, Fischer & Dassen conducted a systematic review of studies published from 1983 to 2003 to establish non-somatic effects of patient aggression. The study included 25 reports from four departments of nursing (psychiatry, emergency, gerontology, and general) in eight different countries. The authors found that the leading responses to these incidents included anger, fear or anxiety, PTSD
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