Can Nurse Training Lower Incidence of Violence in the Emergency Department?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Trisha Elayne Sutterfield, BSN
School of Nursing, Lubbock Christian University, Lubbock, TX

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to have the tools necessary to effectively deal with aggressive behaviors

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to assess observable aggressive behaviors and use effective de-escalation techniques to lessen a potential violent episode within the emergency department

Purpose:  The purpose of this study is to investigate if nurse training in observable aggressive behaviors utilizing the STAMP assessment tool and de-escalation techniques lowers the frequency of violence in the emergency department. The incidence of violence within the emergency department is on the rise and becoming a growing concern for the nurses working within the setting (Catlette, 2005). According to Mahoney (2000) 97.7% of nurses polled reported they experienced some type of aggression at work during their nursing careers. Negative staff interactional styles and limited communication skills are strong precursors of aggression and violence (Bilgin, 2009).  Research findings recommend for schools of nursing and staff development to provide instruction to nursing students and nurses to better prepare them for preventing and coping with workplace violence (Mahoney, 2000; Catlette, 2005).

Methods: A pilot study will be implemented using 50 ED nurses utilizing a violence assessment tool. A pre-test will be given so the nurses can assess their communication skills and knowledge of observable behaviors leading to aggressive outcomes. One group of 25 will be given educational handouts using the STAMP assessment tool and de-escalation techniques for the agitated patient. A control group will be asked to read articles on their own regarding violence in the workplace. A post-test will be implemented to both groups 1 month after initial trial

 Results: We anticipate nurses with increased awareness of the precursor triggers of violent behavior will experience a decreased frequency in violent incidences.  We project nurses trained in conveying caring and effective communication will have a decreased frequency of violent episodes in the workplace.

Conclusion: We anticipate this study will show increased education, awareness of environment and application of highly developed communication skills will have an effect by actually decreasing the incidence of violent episodes with the ED.