A study of almost 40,000 nurses, published in the journal Occupational Medicine, suggested that 29% of UK nurses were subjected to violent episodes once a month or more.
The UK rate was second only to France and was significantly higher than the 22% average recorded across ten European countries included in the research. The lowest rates were reported in Norway and the Netherlands.
Nurses most at risk were those who worked in psychiatry, geriatrics and A&E. Other factors associated with high reporting of violent events were a lack of teamwork, uncertainty regarding patients’ treatments, working night shifts and increased time pressures.
The study also highlighted ongoing retention problems created by levels of violence. ‘Nurses who reported exposure to violence had higher levels of burnout and reported more intention to either leave nursing or change employer,’ the authors said.