February 14, 2024

Survey shows nationwide surge in nurses reporting workplace violence

Editor's Note

New survey data indicate most nurses have experienced workplace violence within the past year, and the problem appears to be getting worse.

Conducted by National Nurses United (NNU), the nation’s largest union and professional association of registered nurses, the nationwide survey gathered data from nearly 1,000 nurses working in 48 states and the District of Columbia about their experiences with workplace violence last year. Published February 5, survey results also indicate that employers often fail to implement workplace violence prevention plans. Nurses also shared that incidents often go unreported due to unclear reporting mechanisms, fear of retaliation, lack of employer action, and notions that violence is part of the job.

Highlights of the survey include:

  • In 2023, 8 in 10 nurses (81.6%) experienced at least  one type of workplace violence, ranging from physical abuse (particularly pinching and scratching) to verbal threats.
  • Nearly half of respondents (45.5%) reported an increase in workplace violence on their unit in the previous year, while only 3.8% reported a decrease.
  • Most RNs—6 in 10—report leaving or considering leaving their job due to workplace violence.
  • Only 29.5% of nurses report that their employer has staff available to respond to workplace violence at all times, and only 17% report that their employer places any additional staff to reduce the risk of violence.
  • Only about 1 in 3 nurses (31.7 percent) reported that their employer provides a clear way to report incidents.

 The report concludes with a note about the NNU’s support for The Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act (S. 1176/H.R. 2663), which is aimed at protecting nurses, other health care workers, and their patients from workplace violence. 


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