Workplace Violence Prevention for Nurses
Early and Middle Stages: Verbal Skills
Your words and demeanor have the power to defuse tensions, so be attuned to your tone of voice, choice of words, and body language. Basic guidance includes:Allow the person to express concern.
- "Please tell me what's bothering you."
- "How can we correct this problem?" Learn how
Empathic support includes our capacity to envision the perspective of the "other person" in painful or conflicted situations--in this case, an upset or threatening patient or coworker.
"Ms. Wallace: I can see that you're very angry... Can we talk about what's troubling you?"
"Mr. Brown, I know you've had a tough time here since your surgery, but I want to do whatever we can to help you."
- "I understand how frustrating this must be for you."
- This only exacerbates a tense situation.
- "I'm sorry this happened. Let's find a way to fix it."
- "I'm going to bring this to my supervisor immediately."
- "Let me get someone who can help you with this problem."
Be alert to early signs of a patient's rising anxiety; perhaps offer an empathic inquiry such as, "You seem to be upset...can you tell me what's troubling you?"
- Page last reviewed:January 27, 2016
- Page last updated:August 12, 2013
- National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Division of Safety Research