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Violence at the workplace—a questionnaire survey of nurses

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 April 2020

Dorota Merecz
Department of Work Psychology, The Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, Lodz, Poland
Joanna Rymaszewska*
Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Postgraduate Medical Training, Wroclaw Medical University, Ul. Pasteura 10, 50-367Wroclaw, Poland
Agnieszka Mościcka
Department of Work Psychology, The Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, Lodz, Poland
Andrzej Kiejna
Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Postgraduate Medical Training, Wroclaw Medical University, Ul. Pasteura 10, 50-367Wroclaw, Poland
Joanna Jarosz-Nowak
Institute of Mathematics, Wroclaw University of Technology, Wroclaw, Poland
*Corresponding author. Tel.: +48 71 784 1600. E-mail address: (J. Rymaszewska).
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– In the health sector, anywhere in the world nurses are one of the most exposed groups to violence. However, it is not obvious that psychiatric nurses (PNs) are more exposed to aggression and burnout.


– To determine the nature and effects of aggressive acts towards nursing staff in psychiatric and other medical services in Poland.


– Various questionnaires (Stress at Work Scale, General Health Questionnaire, Maslach Burnout Inventory, Work Satisfaction Scale), were distributed among psychiatric (N = 78) and non-psychiatric nurses (N-PNs) (N = 335). A 92.6% response rate was achieved.


– Significant differences were found between PNs and non-psychiatric counterparts with respect to their experiences of violence. The most frequently reported incident was verbal abuse, followed by threats and physical assault. Patients were significantly more frequent perpetrators in psychiatric wards than in others. The level of intra-staff aggression did not significantly vary between groups, neither did the level of work satisfaction and absenteeism.


– The frequency of violent acts and stress related to them point out the strong need for the development of preventive programs to address the issue of violence at work.

Original article
Copyright © Elsevier SAS 2006

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