The Impact of Workplace Violence Toward Psychiatric Mental Health Nurses: Identifying the Facilitators and Barriers to Supportive Resources

Lyndsay Dean, Amanda Butler, Janet Cuddigan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: When compared with all other health care professions, the psychiatric nursing profession has the highest prevalence of workplace violence. The effects of workplace violence can be psychologically and physically devastating. Supportive resources are not always available or fully utilized when available. Aims: The purpose of this study is to explore the true impact of workplace violence toward psychiatric mental health nurses, as well as their personal perspectives on the types of supportive resources necessary for future implementation. Additionally, this study strives to identify the facilitators and barriers to acquiring supportive resources. Methods: A qualitative descriptive study design was utilized. The theory of cognitive adaptation provided an underlying conceptual framework. Data were collected using REDCap software to identify the nature and extent of workplace violence in the study setting (Survey 1) and solicit detailed responses to focus group questions designed to address the study aims (Survey 2). RESULTS: Six pertinent themes were discovered: frequent exposure to workplace violence, attempt to understand workplace violence, the need for supportive means, barriers to accessing supportive means, increase administrative support, and workplace violence has a detrimental impact on various aspects of life. CONCLUSIONS: Although psychiatric mental health nurses express a desire for more psychological support postassault, the underlying meaning and cognitive adaptation following the workplace violence experience is not well understood, and there are barriers to the acquisition of services. The findings from this study are being used to inform a multifaceted program to effectively support psychiatric mental health nurses experiencing workplace violence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-202
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2021


  • interventions
  • nurses
  • nurses with PTSD
  • patient violence nurses
  • psychiatric mental health nurses
  • violence toward providers
  • work-related PTSD
  • workplace violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health


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