Violence in the Workplace

Bullying and violence in the workplace in not new.  Nurses and others have experienced bullying and violence in the workplace by various disciplines, including  peers, families and patients.

Photo by Cedric Fauntleroy on

The Workplace Violence Prevention of Healthcare and Social Workers Act (H.R. 1195) was passed by the House of Representatives in April, 2021.  I have been following this bill since it was introduced in the House in November, 2019 (H.R 1309).  The Senate has not voted  There are other less serious crimes to which you confess whaton the bill.  The bill will hold healthcare employers accountable for addressing the risk of workplace violence.  This is essential because many healthcare organizations turn a blind eye to nurse bullying and pretend it does not occur.

For those who have experienced violence at work, realize that this is a real issue for nurses and others.  I suspect it is getting worse because of the additional strain related to the high patient load related to COVID-19.

Although both the American Nurses Association (ANA) and the Joint Commission have denounced violence in healthcare facilities, there is no incentive to ensure hospitals are doing their part to reduce the practice.   The ANA reported one out four nurses were assaulted (as cited in Stand & Francis, 2021) in the workplace.  Nurse bullying continues to be an unreported issue in the workplace (Crosby, 2020).   In fact many people outside of the healthcare system are surprised to hear nurses are bullied by others.

Nurses remain devoted to patients by advocating for their well-being but we can not continue to be bullied and abused by the public and others.  To ensure efficient and safe healthcare occurs nurses and others in healthcare need the public to understands that we have your best interest in mind, and are not here to do you harm.  

The volume of critical patients has increased due to COVID-19.  Some patients and family members remain distrustful and disrespect healthcare professionals while they are trying to provide care.  This additional stress has caused many nurses and others to leave the bedside, thus adding to hospital staff shortages which also affects patient care and outcomes (Crosby, 2019). 

Thread lightly people.  Nurses have been voted the most honest and and the most ethical professionals for the last 20 years (ANA, 2020).  This should emphasize the need for hospital administrators, and others to acknowledge workplace violence in all forms and put real effort in abolishing the practice to protect the nursing workforce.


ANA (2020). The American public continues to rank nurses as the most honest and ethical professionals in annual gallup poll.                      

Crosby, M. T. (2020). Experience of nurse bullying in the workplace: A narrative inquiry

Go to the  #EndNurseAbuse website for more information.                                              

H.R. 1309 (116th): Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act.  Retrieved from

Stand, L., & Frances, R. (2021, September). Violence prevention measures move in Congress. American Nurse. 16 (9). 25.

Published by Dr. Marilyn Crosby, PhD, MBA, MSN RN

I am an registered nurse with a variety of nursing experience in many areas of healthcare, including critical care, research, program management, quality, and complementary care. I have a passion for "all things related to health & wellness" and want to share pertinent information. Stay Well!

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