Statement of purpose The impact of workplace violence (WPV) to emergency department (ED) workers’ psychological wellbeing and coping is not known. Our study purpose was to describe coping and wellbeing of ED workers who have experienced WPV. The theoretical framework guiding our research was Neuman’s Systems Model, specifically the constructs of basic human structure (wellbeing), lines of resistance (coping), and stressors (WPV).
Methods/Approach We used a cross-sectional survey design with ED workers from six Midwestern EDs. A convenience sample completed the Coping Resources Inventory (CRI) and Freidman Wellbeing Scale (FWBS). Survey domains were coded using instrument guidebooks including reverse coding to generate overall survey scores. Sample scores were compared to national normative scores (CRI female: 176.96, CRI male: 1701.6, FWBS: 63.34) using two-tailed t-tests.
Results The majority of the 208 respondents were registered nurses (58.3%), full-time employees (79.1%), female (74.5%), and White (89.9%). Their mean years of experience was 12 years and age was 37 years. The sample’s CRI score was 123.05. After comparing sample scores to their national normative sex-based scores, the sample’s mean difference of 52.17 was significantly lower than the national normative score, t(207)=34.011, p<0.001. The FWBS score for the sample was 68.31, which was significantly higher than the national normative score, t(207)=4.829, p<0.001.
Conclusion Although use of coping skills after experiencing WPV was significantly lower than the general population, participants’ overall wellbeing remained high. These findings can be explained by Neuman’s System Model where wellbeing is part of the basic human structure, which develops across the lifespan and would remain intact following intermittent WPV incidents.
Significance Our findings represent ED workers’ need to learn effective coping skills prior to and after exposures to WPV in order to maintain wellbeing. Stress inoculation training can aid EDs in developing workers’ skills.
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