Workplace Violence against Female Nurses: a Survey in Critical Care Units

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Department of Sociology, Faculty of Humanities, University of Kashan, Kashan, Iran

2 Research Center for Prevention of Psychosocial Injuries, Ilam University of Medical Sciences, Ilam, Iran


Background and Objectives: Workplace violence against female nurses is a significant and increasing problem. This study aimed to investigate workplace violence against female nurses in three general hospitals of Ilam located in Western Iran and identify factors influencing it incidents.   Methods: Seventy seven nurses were randomly selected and surveyed. The data were collected using an author-designed instrument. The survey instrument consisted of 26 items on the demographic and employment characteristics (sex, age, work experience, marital status, degree of education, and the working department), and 19 multiple-choice questions related to verbal/physical abuse by patients (5 items), verbal/physical abuse by patients’ visitors (5 items), and nurse reactions (9 items). The validity and reliability of the questionnaire were examined using the CVI and Test-retest methods. T-test and ANOVA were used for comparison of the mean values. The correlation between the variables was explored using Pearson coefficient.   Findings: Of the total participants, 83.1 % and 22.1 % had faced with verbal and physical violence by the patients during last year, respectively. Moreover, 88.3 % and 31.2 % of nurses had experienced verbal and physical assaults by patients’ companions, respectively. Most nursing staff believe that reporting aggressive evident is not useful at all. A significant correlation was found between physical assaults by patients and nurses’ age. In addition, a significant relationship between verbal violence by patients and nurses’ marriage status was identified (P < 0.05).   Conclusions: Our results revealed a high rate of workplace violence against female nurses. To alleviate this problem, public training together with legally pursuing of individuals committing aggressive violence is essential. The fact that young and single nurses are more prone to violence shows the importance of employing experienced nurses in certain healthcare activities.