Risk factors for work-related assaults on nurses

Susan G Gerberich, Timothy R Church, Patricia M McGovern, Helen Hansen, Nancy M. Nachreiner, Mindy S. Geisser, Andrew Ryan, Steven J Mongin, Gavin D. Watt, Anne Jurek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


Background: Work-related homicides have been the subject of considerable study, but little is known about nonfatal violence and relevant risk factors. Methods: We surveyed 6300 Minnesota nurses who were selected randomly from the 1998 licensing database and determined their employment and occupational violence experience. In a nested case-control study, we examined environmental exposures and physical assault. Cases of assault in the previous 12 months and controls randomly selected from assault-free months were surveyed about prior-month exposures. Results: After adjustment by multiple logistic regression, incidence of physical assault was 13.2 per 100 persons per year (95% confidence interval = 12.2-14.3). Among 310 cases and 946 control subjects, odds ratios for assault were increased: in nursing homes or long-term care facilities (2.6; 1.9-3.6), emergency departments (4.2; 1.3-12.8), and psychiatric departments (2.0; 1.1-3.7); in environments not "bright as daylight" (2.2; 1.6-2.8); and for each additional hour of shift duration (1.05; 0.99-1.11). Risks were decreased when carrying cellular telephones or personal alarms (0.3; 0.2-0.7). Conclusions: These results may guide in-depth investigation of ways protective and risk factors can control violence against nurses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)704-709
Number of pages6
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2005


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