American Nurses Association (ANA) seeks to prevent violence and bullying in health care facilities.

The following is a press release by the American Nurses Association (ANA), which is seeking to prevent violence and bullying in health care facilities.


ANA Panel Aims to Prevent Violence, Bullying in Health Care Facilities (4/6/15)


April 6, 2015

Adam Sachs, 301-628-5034
Jemarion Jones, 301-628-5198

Workplace Violence

ANA Panel Aims to Prevent Violence, Bullying in Health Care Facilities
Public Comments Sought by April 30 on New Position, Recommendations

SILVER SPRING, MD – The American Nurses Association (ANA) has convened a panel of experts to make recommendations on preventing and reducing workplace violence, bullying and incivility, behaviors identified by research as particular problems in health care settings.

The 25-member Professional Issues Panel on Workplace Violence, Bullying and Incivility is developing a position statement and detailed guidance for registered nurses and employers addressing the dangerous and disruptive behaviors. The panel, which received recommendations from hundreds of nurses on an affiliated advisory committee, is submitting its draft report for public comment through April 30.

“A proactive stance to develop effective workplace violence prevention programs is critical to ensure the safety of patients, nurses and other health care workers,” said ANA President Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN. “We must completely dispel the notion prevalent in too many health care organizations, and held by too many health care workers and leaders, that being physically or verbally assaulted is just ‘part of the job.’”

In an ongoing ANA survey of nurses’ health and safety, 21 percent reported they were at a “significant level of risk” for violence at work, and 25 percent to 50 percent reported experiencing various instances of bullying in their workplace. Specifically, 50 percent said they had experienced verbal or non-verbal aggression from a peer and 42 percent from a person in a higher level of authority; and 43 percent had been verbally and/or physically threatened by a patient or a patient’s family member. In a previous ANA survey, one-third of nurses identified “on the job assault” as one of their top three workplace safety concerns.

In a 2014 survey published in the Journal of Emergency Nursing, three of four nurses reported experiencing violence on the job – verbal or physical — within the past year, and three of 10 reported physical abuse by patients. A high proportion of the abusive incidents involved patients under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

At the national level, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that the health care and social services employment sector had the highest incidence rate among all sectors of injury involving days away from work caused by violence in 2013.

Workplace violence and bullying can cause fear among health care workers and contribute to high turnover rates and distrust, dissatisfaction and decreased job performance. ANA believes it is a nurse’s right to work in a healthy work environment free from violence, bullying, hostility, lateral abuse (acts between peers), intimidation, misuse of authority and other abusive and disruptive behaviors, and where a nurse does not fear retaliation for speaking out against these actions.

Currently, no federal standard requires workplace violence protections, though several states have enacted legislation or regulations aimed at preventing workplace violence.


To comment on the draft:

ANA is the only full-service professional organization representing the interests of the nation’s 3.1 million registered nurses through its constituent and state nurses associations and its organizational affiliates. ANA advances the nursing profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting the rights of nurses in the workplace, projecting a positive and realistic view of nursing, and by lobbying the Congress and regulatory agencies on health care issues affecting nurses and the public.

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