One in three nurses suffer violent attacks at work

One in three nurses in the UK suffers frequent violent attacks at work, which may impact on staff recruitment and retention, new research has found.

A survey published in the journal Occupational Medicine, found that 29% of UK nurses had been involved in violent attacks with patients or their relatives.

The study, based on a survey of 39,894 nurses in 10 European countries, found that the effects of violence led to problems with recruitment and nurses leaving the profession, increased amounts of sick leave and “burnout”.

In France, four in 10 nurses had suffered frequent violent attacks at work, dropping to 28% in Germany.

The authors of the report called for a “sound trust policy” to be put in place to protect staff with incidents to be more carefully monitored.

“As its effects are varied, including increased sick leave, security costs, litigation, workers’ compensation, and recruitment and retention issues, it is important to address both its psychological and organisational costs,” the authors said.

It follows a joint report by the Healthcare Commission and Royal College of Psychiatrists, published last month, which found that more than half of British nurses on mental health wards had been physically assaulted at work.

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