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An epidemiological study of the magnitude and consequences of work related violence: the Minnesota Nurses’ Study
  1. S G Gerberich1,
  2. T R Church1,
  3. P M McGovern1,
  4. H E Hansen2,
  5. N M Nachreiner1,
  6. M S Geisser1,
  7. A D Ryan1,
  8. S J Mongin1,
  9. G D Watt1
  1. 1Regional Injury Prevention Research Center, Center for Violence Prevention and Control, and Occupational Injury Prevention Research Training Program, Division of Environmental and Occupational Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA
  2. 2School of Nursing, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
 Prof. S G Gerberich
 Professor and Director, Regional Injury Prevention Research Center and Center for Violence Prevention and Control, Division of Environmental and Occupational Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Mayo Mail Code 807, 420 Delaware Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA;


Aims: To identify the magnitude of and potential risk factors for violence within a major occupational population.

Methods: Comprehensive surveys were sent to 6300 Minnesota licensed registered (RNs) and practical (LPNs) nurses to collect data on physical and non-physical violence for the prior 12 months. Re-weighting enabled adjustment for potential biases associated with non-response, accounting for unknown eligibility.

Results: From the 78% responding, combined with non-response rate information, respective adjusted rates per 100 persons per year (95% CI) for physical and non-physical violence were 13.2 (12.2 to 14.3) and 38.8 (37.4 to 40.4); assault rates were increased, respectively, for LPNs versus RNs (16.4 and 12.0) and males versus females (19.4 and 12.9). Perpetrators of physical and non-physical events were patients/clients (97% and 67%, respectively). Consequences appeared greater for non-physical than physical violence. Multivariate modelling identified increased rates for both physical and non-physical violence for working: in a nursing home/long term care facility; in intensive care, psychiatric/behavioural or emergency departments; and with geriatric patients.

Conclusions: Results show that non-fatal physical assault and non-physical forms of violence, and relevant consequences, are frequent among both RNs and LPNs; such violence is mostly perpetrated by patients or clients; and certain environmental factors appear to affect the risk of violence. This serves as the basis for further analytical studies that can enable the development of appropriate prevention and control efforts.

  • occupational violence
  • physical assault
  • non-physical violence
  • work related
  • RN, registered nurse
  • LPN, licensed practical nurse
  • CI, confidence interval

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