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Do zero tolerance policies deskill nurses?

  • Comments (2)

Farrell GA, Salmon P (2014) Do zero tolerance policies deskill nurses? Nursing Times; 110: 6, 14-15.



Although much has been written about patient aggression, its management remains problematic, with many healthcare providers adopting a “zero tolerance” approach.

This article uses case studies to discuss:

  • The negative implications associated with this policy;
  • The background to patient aggression and other “challenging” behaviours;
  • How nurses, midwives and other health professionals respond to them;
  • How they can reclaim their professional role in this important aspect of patient care.


What do you think?

  • Do zero tolerance policies deskill nurses?
  • Is managing aggression part of nurses’ professional role?
  • Is aggression understandable in some situations?
  • Comments (2)

Readers' comments (2)

  • Anonymous

    Many Trusts have zero tolerance policies, but just because there as a policy in place doesn't stop service users from acting in a violent or aggressive way.

    Rather than de-skilling staff, Trusts tend to spend a lot of money on training to provide staff with a suite of skills to draw upon if an untoward situation were to occur.

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  • Anonymous

    I attended a Conflict Resolution study session a few years ago. The theory was interesting. However, the practical part involved instruction as to what movements to use for various situations. In real life, you will not have time to think "Which action was I told to use in this situation? Was it action 'a' or 'action 'b'? Maybe action 'c'. I cannot remember." You do what comes naturally in the situation.

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