Workplace Violence Prevention for Nurses
Early and Middle Stages: Non-Verbal Skills
It is important to be cognizant of and control your body position and posture so as not to inadvertently escalate an already tense situation.
- Be calm, or at least act calm. Maintain non-threatening eye contact, smile, and keep hands open and visible.
- Listen. Nod your head to demonstrate that you are paying attention.
- Respect personal space. Maintain arm/leg distance away from the individual. Avoid touching the upset individual as it may be misinterpreted.
- Approach the patient from an angle or from the side.
- Convey that you are in control, by demonstrating confidence in your ability to resolve the situation.
- Demonstrate supportive body language. Avoid threatening gestures, such as finger pointing or crossed arms.
- Avoid laughing or smiling inappropriately.
- Page last reviewed:January 27, 2016
- Page last updated:August 12, 2013
- National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Division of Safety Research