Journal of Professional Nursing

Workplace violence experienced by registered nurses: A concept analysis

Judee Ventura-Madangeng, RN, MN (Hons), Emergency Department, Canterbury Hospital, NSW, Australia
Denise Wilson, RN, PhD, FCNA(NZ), Senior Lecturer in Nursing (Maori Health), Massey University – Auckland

Reference:  Ventura-Madangeng, J., & Wilson, D. (2000). Workplace violence experienced by registered nurses: A concept analysis. Nursing Praxis in New Zealand, 25(3), 37-50.


Workplace violence toward nurses has increased during the last decade with serious consequences that may extend beyond individual nurses to an entire health care organisation. The variety of definitions of workplace violence experienced by registered nurses contribute to a lack of clarity about what it constitutes, which in turn jeopardizes the reporting of incidences by nurses. Drawing on the relevant literature from 1990 to 2005, a concept analysis using Walker and Avant's framework was undertaken to develop an operational definition of this phenomenon as experienced by registered nurses (excluding mental health nurses). Having a clear understanding of workplace violence assists with the creation of strategies aimed at preventing and/or resolving this problem.

Workplace violence, registered nurses and violence, concept analysis

Traditionally workplace violence has been defined as an incident that results in physical injury (Duncan, Hyndman, Estabrooks & Hesketh, 2001); however, this definition has changed with increasing reports of violent incidents. It is a problem that is highly relevant to nurses working in New Zealand (see for example, Bentley et al., in press; McKenna, Poole, Smith, Coverdale, & Gale, 2003). A variety of terms are evident in the literature, such as aggression, assault, ‘untoward' incidents (Spokes et al., 2002), verbal threats and abuse, unwanted sexual advances (American Nurses Association (ANA), 1994), harassment, bullying, and intimidation (Jackson, Clare, & Mannix, 2002). Absence of a universal definition for workplace violence within health care settings and ambiguity about what constitutes a violent event compromises research on the incidence and magnitude of this phenomenon. Varying definitions and unclear criteria may lead to nurses failing to identify their experience as a form of workplace violence, so preventing it being reported. The International Council of Nurses (ICN) (2007) estimated that only 20 percent of nurses experiencing some form of violence report incidents of workplace violence. Under-reporting masks a higher incidence than is indicated in................cont.

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