Consequences for the Nurse

Acts of workplace violence against a nurse can exact a heavy physical and emotional toll. Consequences can be both acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term) and range in intensity from minor to serious physical injuries; from temporary to permanent disability; and from psychological trauma to death.

Beyond the immediate trauma, negative outcomes may also include low morale and productivity that result from lack of trust in management, loss of team cohesiveness, and a sense that the work environment is hostile and dangerous. Workplace violence may also result in increased job stress, absenteeism, family turmoil, and worker turnover.

In addition, there can be a financial impact on the individual due to lost time at work and other out-of-pocket costs of care, or legal expenses (Hoff & Slatin, 2006).

Finally, it is important to realize that one does not need to be the direct target of a violent act to be affected by it. Witnesses, bystanders and coworkers often suffer emotional and psychological trauma no less significant than that of the victim.

Page last reviewed: February 7, 2020