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Prevention of Violence Against Healthcare Professionals in the Workplace

Workplace violence (WPV) is prevalent in the medical sector and is a problematic and risky workplace hazard in healthcare facilities. Patients and bystanders perpetrated workplace violence against healthcare professionals, which impacts approximately 95% of healthcare professionals.WPV incidents within emergency departments (EDs) are rising and have become a substantial and alarming concern. 8% to 38% of healthcare professionals experience physical abuse during employment (Hsu et al., 2022). Many others encounter harassment or verbal abuse.

PICOT Question

In a postpartum unit caring for an African American patient with mental illness (P), will using a panic button (I) compared to not using a panic button (C) reduce the high rate of physical and non-physical violence (O) against hospital staff during the patients 2-3 days stay (T)?

Healthcare Violence Prevention through the Panic Button Safety Solution

The Panic Button safety solution may ensure employee safety, providing immediate and discreet access to emergency services. They offer safety precautions to lone healthcare personnel that is not feasible through any other training or preventative program. All healthcare workers can obtain immediate assistance through a Panic Button safety solution, regardless of whether they cannot move due to an injury(Mejia et al., 2021). Employers have the potential to safeguard their workforce, their reputations, and their financial well-being with panic button safety solutions.

A qualitative examination of nurses’ incidents with patient and visitor violence (PVV) in the emergency department discovered that overseeing Emergency Department (ED) clients during their most vulnerable periods was linked with an increased likelihood of WPV. The analysis demonstrated the communication challenge in crowded EDs. This includes communication, caring, assistance, trust, and anticipation. Nurses deemed it challenging to communicate clinical management and associated information to patients based on assessments of their clinical situations. Communication issues might irritate nurses and patients, causing patients to be anxious, increasing stress, excessive requests, and ambiguity, which would elicit PVV. The nurses in this study acknowledged the severity and complexity of PVV and stressed the significance of management and front-line ED nurses cooperating. The study determined that ongoing policy and training are essential (Hsu et al., 2022). It is also crucial and advised to upgrade the security measures at the hospital, including surveillance cameras, emergency buttons such as panic buttons, and other facilities that help to secure and safeguard the safety of medical personnel in the ED.

Violence against healthcare personnel is on the rise in China, according to cross-sectional research conducted there from July to September 2019. The prevalence of WPV was significantly different across different specialties, with emergency medicine departments having the highest prevalence (79.8%), followed by pediatrics departments (73.7%), surgery departments (62.4%), gynecology departments (61.1%), and internal medicine departments (59.3%). The primary perpetrators in these occurrences were the family of the patients. Alcohol and drug abuse, as well as mental disorders, were shown to be significant risk factors for the patients. Long patient wait times, shift work, understaffed EDs, and staff that have demanding jobs are all linked to an increase in WPV risk in terms of how EDs are operated and staffed (Yan et al., 2023).To safeguard staff members from violence, the study discovered that medical facilities must provide improved preventative measures (increasing security personnel, repairing cameras, and installing panic buttons), as healthcare professionals in hospitals with WPV prevention programs had a lower probability of experiencing WPV.

Research on strategies for curbing aggression and violence in German emergency departments uncovered evidence of violence in the workplace in the healthcare sector. According to the study, a 12-month prevalence of violence for emergency department vicinities was 79.4%, whereas physical and non-physical forms of violence (verbal abuse, threats, or sexual harassment) constitute 31.0% and 62.3%, respectively. Violence was either committed by the patients or by their caregivers. Instances of violence result from policies or standard operating procedures pertaining to violence prevention being absent, unrecognized, or regarded as not helpful in their existing format. Financial limitations were frequently a factor in both demands and obstacles; for example, a staff deficit resulted in increased responsibilities and less time for violence prevention considerations. Furthermore, none of the EDs utilized screening techniques (Reißmann et al., 2023). Participants in the research provided effective-perceived measures, including communication and security services, environmental (alarm systems), organizational (security service), and person-focused (staff training, verbal de-escalation) measures as effective in curbing WPV


Workplace violence is a risk in every sector. Healthcare workers are prime targets for verbal and physical assault, which might involve clients, visitors, strangers, and coworkers. Employers require a thorough worker safety strategy to promote and support the security and safety of medical professionals. Active preventative approaches significantly lower the risk and occurrence of violent incidents while improving workers’ perceptions of safety, resulting in higher staff retention.


Hsu, M.-C., Chou, M.-H., & Ouyang, W.-C. (2022). Dilemmas and repercussions of workplace violence against emergency nurses: A qualitative study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health19(5), 2661.

Mejia, C., Ciarlante, K., & Chheda, K. (2021). A wearable technology solution and Research Agenda for housekeeper safety and health. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management33(10), 3223–3255.

Reißmann, S., Wirth, T., Beringer, V., Groneberg, D. A., Nienhaus, A., Harth, V., & Mache, S. (2023). “I think we still do too little”: Measures to prevent violence and aggression in German emergency departments – a qualitative study. BMC Health Services Research23(1).

Yan, S., Feng, J., Gan, Y., Wang, R., Song, X., Luo, Z., Han, X., & Lv, C. (2023). Prevalence and predictors of workplace violence against emergency physicians in China: A cross-sectional study. Human Resources for Health21(1).


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