Format of Original
Kentucky Nurses Association
Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which nurses practicing in a pediatric hospital encounter verbal abuse by patients and families and their reactions to this abuse.
Background: Verbal abuse, the most common type of workplace violence against nurses results in declining morale and job satisfaction, and can negatively impact nurse turnover and quality of patient care.
Methods: The study employed a concurrent triangulation strategy using mixed methods. The 162 nurses who volunteered completed a 3-part questionnaire, and a subgroup participated in one of three focus groups.
Results: Eighty-two percent of subjects reported verbal abuse an average of 4 times per month. The majority of these continued to think about the incident for a few hours (25%), a few days (36%), or a week or more (12%). Nearly half reported feeling angry or powerless and 14% said they thought of leaving their position.
Conclusions: The findings of this study described the nature and scope of the problem, and prompted improvement in processes and education to support nurses.
This study was motivated by nurses employed at an urban children's hospital reporting increased incidences of verbal abuse by patients and families. These nurses told of negative encounters which produced feelings of frustration. They perceived that the hospital's increased emphasis on patient and family satisfaction prevented them from setting limits on verbal abuse perpetrated by patients and families. Nursing administration, concerned about staff morale, proposed a study that would describe the extent to which nurses practicing in a pédiatrie hospital encounter verbal abuse by patients and families and their reactions to this abuse.