Presentation Notes

Presented at: Building Bridges Conference; May 13, 2022; Milwaukee, WI.


Background Review

Workplace violence (WPV) is a common, increasing experience in healthcare. Verbal violence is the most common type and is typically considered “not that big of a deal” or “minor” (Hahn et al. 2008, Magnavita 2014). However, verbal violence and harassment are extremely destructive to team member morale and productivity, leading to burnout and aggression in the victim (Brophy et al. 2017, Miller 2008, Phillips 2016).


The workplace violence committee (WPVC) at a 750+ bed, Level 1 trauma center on the south side of Chicago aimed to quantify the number of verbal incidents and their consequences to inform WPVC interventions to reduce WPV and support the health, wellbeing, and retention of team members.

Sample and Setting

All team members (n=6040) had the option to complete the anonymous survey via email.


The survey was created, distributed, and collated using Qualtrics and exported to Excel for descriptive analysis.


Of the total team members who completed the survey (n=1018), 67% reported experiencing verbal violence in the past 12 months and 58% of those who experienced verbal violence reported having at least one consequence. The mean reporting rate for verbal violence was 12%. Team members reported 1947 consequences total with 27 per individual at the most. Of those who experienced at least one consequence, 39% reported burnout/career fatigue/job dissatisfaction, 37% reported anxiety, 33% reported crying, and 29% reported feeling less competent or effective. These were the four most common consequences.


Most team members in healthcare experience verbal violence that affects their ability to do their jobs and maintain their health (physical and mental). Despite prolific and serious consequences from verbal violence, its consequences are not counted as injuries and are not systematically considered. Quantifying verbal violence and its consequences based on demographics must inform future interventions for WPV prevention, resolution, healing, and retention.


Brophy, J.T., M.M. Keith, and M. Hurley. (2017). Assaulted and unheard: Violence against healthcare staff. New Solutions: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy. 27(4):581-606. DOI: 10.1177/1048291117732301

Hahn, S., V. Hantikainen, I. Needham, G. Kok, T. Dassen, and R.J.G. Halfens. (2013). Patient and visitor violence in the general hospital, occurrence, staff interventions and consequences: A cross-sectional study. Journal of Advanced Nursing. 68(12):2685-2699. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2012.05967.x.

Magnavita, N. (2014). Workplace violence and occupational stress in healthcare workers: A chicken-and-egg situation – Results of a 6-year follow-up study. Journal of Nursing Scholarship 46(5):366-376.

Miller, L. 2008. Workplace Violence: Practical policies and strategies for prevention, response, and recovery. International Journal of Emergency Mental Health 9(4):259-280.

Phillips, J.P. (2016.) Workplace violence against health care workers in the United States. The New England Journal of Medicine. 374(17):1661-1669. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMra1501998

Document Type

Oral/Podium Presentation




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