Violence against Nurses: A Neglected and Health-threatening Epidemic in the University Affiliated Public Hospitals in Shiraz, Iran

Behnam Honarvar, Nima Ghazanfari, Hadi Raeisi Shahraki, Sara Rostami, Kamran Bagheri Lankarani


Background: Nurses are more likely to be exposed to violence at their workplace in comparison with other employees.

Objective: To determine various aspects of violence against nurses in Shiraz public hospitals.

Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted from 2017 to 2018, using a multistage random sampling method. Violence including verbal threats, verbal abuse, physical and sexual abuse as well as ethnical types, violence from patients, patients' companions and coworkers, and causes of violence were investigated using a checklist.

Results: 405 nurses with a mean age of 30.2 (SD 7.1) years and female to male ratio of 4.2 were interviewed. 363 (89.6%) nurses had experienced at least one kind of violence; 68.4% suffered from more than one type of violence. Verbal abuse (83.9%), verbal threats (27.6%), physical violence (21.4%), sexual abuse (10.8%), and ethnical harassment (6.1%) were the most common types of violence experienced by the nurses. Patients' companions, patients, and physicians were reported as the sources of violence in 70.6%, 43.1%, and 4.1% of cases, respectively. Nurses with non-official employment status and non-Farsi ethnicity, having a disease, with non-evening shift work, and those with short or long employment period were more affected. Unrealistic expectations by patients' companions and long working hours were the most common attributing factors.

Conclusion: Violence against nurses, as a strenuous and health-threatening crisis, has become epidemic in public hospitals in our region. Effective interventions are warranted to sort out these problems.


Violence; Nurses; Hospitals; Patients; Physicians

doi: 10.15171/ijoem.2019.1556

 pISSN: 2008-6520
 eISSN: 2008-6814

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