Background Emergency department (ED) violence is common and widespread. Research suggests that ED staff receive the most amount of verbal and physical abuse. Nurses bear the brunt of the violence. The violence is becoming increasingly common and lethal. Many institutions are still improperly prepared to deal with it.
Method A questionnaire-based survey of the perception of violence among nurses working in six tertiary hospitals EDs across five states in the country was conducted.
Result 81 nurses were interviewed with a male to female ratio of 1:4. Most were right about the definition of violence. 88.6% have witnessed ED violence while 65.0% had been direct victims before. Nurses followed by doctors are the usual victims of the ED carried out mostly by visitors to the ED. Males are usually responsible for the violence, which occurred most usually in the evening. Weapons are not commonly utilised in our environment as only 15.8% of the nurses had been threatened with a weapon over a 1-year period. The main perceived reasons for violence are overcrowded emergency rooms, long waiting time and inadequate system of security. All the institutions are lacking in basic strategies for prevention. While most of the nurses are not satisfied with the EDs which are considered not safe, fewer would wish for redeployment to other departments.
Conclusion There is need to make the EDs safer for all users, or else we might have to start wishing our ED users come back home safe.
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