Consequences for Healthcare Organizations

The General Duty Clause from the OSHA Act of 1970 requires all employers to provide a work environment "free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm." Workplace violence is a recognized hazard within the healthcare industry and as such, employers have the responsibility via the Act to abate the hazard.

Healthcare workplace violence leads to increased absenteeism by nurses, increased use of sick-leave, lower productivity, low morale and increased requests for transfers (Norbek, 1985; Gates, Gillespie, & Succop, 2011).

Violence in the healthcare workplace is a major disruption to job satisfaction and has a negative impact on the therapeutic milieu and the reputation of the healthcare facility within the community. It can result in added costs - from Workers' Compensation, to patient lawsuits, to costs associated with hiring and training replacement nurses due to staff turnover.

When nurses leave the profession it exacerbates an already critical nursing shortage and the cost of hiring nurses rises. Hospital and healthcare administrators should consider the role that prevention of work-related violence plays in improving the quality of working life for nurses with an eye on improving staff retention rates (Aiken et al., 2001).

Page last reviewed: May 16, 2024