The Challenge of Underreporting

In a survey of emergency room nurses, 76% said their decision to report would be based on whether the patient was perceived as being responsible for their action.
Violence Against Nurses, NACNEP 5th Report

As significant as the foregoing facts and figures may seem, many experts believe they represent only the tip of the iceberg and that most incidents of violence go unreported for one or more of the following reasons:

  • A persistent perception within the health care industry that workplace violence is "part of the job";
  • Poor or non-existent institutional policies, procedures, staff training or supports;
  • Overly complex reporting procedures create a disincentive for reporting;
  • Concern that violence happens so frequently that it's time-consuming to report every event, in addition to a lack of response when time is taken to report;
  • Fear that reporting will reflect poorly on the nurse (victim blaming);
  • Belief that some patients cannot be held accountable for their violent actions.
Page last reviewed: February 7, 2020