Workplace Violence

Of the medical professionals, nurses suffer the largest number and the highest rate of non-fatal workplace violence. Healthcare patients are the source of more than half of nonfatal workplace assaults, with current and former co-workers accounting for 8%. Mental health and emergency departments are typically the most noted areas for violence; however, all departments in healthcare settings are at risk.
From 'Occupational Health and Safety,' by Susan Wilburn, MPH, RN


On-Line Course Trains Nurses on Preventing Workplace Violence

A new free on-line course aims to train nurses on recognizing and preventing workplace violence. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) worked with healthcare stakeholders, including nursing and labor organizations, academic groups, other government agencies, and Vida Health Communications, Inc. to develop the course. The multi-media training incorporates lesson text, videos depicting workplace violence incidents, testimonials from real nurses, and lesson quizzes. Nurses can also receive continuing education credits for completing the online course.

On average, over the last decade, U.S. healthcare workers have accounted for two-thirds of the nonfatal workplace violence injuries involving days away from work across all industries. These workers face the risk of both physical violence and non-physical violence, such as verbal abuse, on the job. NIOSH and partners found through their work that there is a lack of workplace violence prevention training being offered to nurses and other healthcare workers. This new on-line course helps to fill this gap by providing a convenient, free way for nurses, as well as other healthcare workers, to gain this training and earn continuing education units.

The course is available on the NIOSH website at For more information about NIOSH’s research and recommendations on workplace violence, visit

NIOSH is the federal agency that conducts research and makes recommendations for preventing work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths. For more information about their work visit

WSNA Online Continuing Education

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Related Content

WSNA Position Paper on Workplace Violence

On the Web

NIOSH page on Workplace Violence

OSHA's Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence for Health Care and Social Service Workers (PDF)

Washington State Rules and Statutes on Violence Prevention in the Health Care Setting

Founded in 1908, WSNA is the professional organization representing more than 16,000 registered nurses in Washington State. WSNA effectively advocates for the improvement of health standards and availability of quality health care for all people; promotes high standards for the nursing profession; and advances the professional and economic development of nurses.

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