Workplace Violence: The Nurse Victim

Patricia A. Rowell, PhD, RN



Of two major types of workplace trauma interpersonal and non-interpersonal the most common, for most employees, is interpersonal trauma. This trauma can come from being the recipient of actual violence from one person upon another, e.g., rape or beating, observing violent acts of one person upon another, e.g., fights or stabbings, or being demeaned and berated by someone of influence in one's life. Nursing can help make a difference in the outcomes of such events; however, the impact of such events on the nurse and other care providers is not insignificant. It is these helpers of the sick, angry, or traumatized who are often primarily or secondarily traumatized without their trauma being recognized by others. Without recognition of the impact of the trauma, the treatment they need and deserve is often not received. So often the nurses who are traumatized see violence as an everyday part of their jobs, therefore, it is not reported or the impact is not consciously recognized.

Purpose/Goal: Due to the seriousness of the problems associated with primary and secondary trauma to nurses, this module will discuss the impact, prevention, and treatment relative to interpersonal violence.


1. Describe secondary traumatization to care providers.
2. Describe the signs of stress and anxiety disorders associated with secondary traumatization.
3. Discuss interventions which assist the victim to deal with the sequelae of secondary traumatization.
4. Discuss prevention strategies.


Patricia A. Rowell, PhD, RN, is retired after many years of a health policy and clinical work. Her educational background includes BS (science), BSN, MSN (pediatric nursing) with Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP) certification, a post-Masters certificate in Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing and a PhD (health services administration and research). Her doctoral study and research were in the areas of quality measurement and improvement. Dr. Rowell's varied clinical background includes work in the emergency room, in-patient psychiatry, public and home (maternal-child) health, and ambulatory (PNP) and inpatient pediatrics. She has also worked as a health services researcher and has numerous publications and presentations on health care and nursing, including mental health nursing.

The planners and author of this CNE activity have disclosed no financial relationships with any commercial companies pertaining to this activity.

Contact Hours: 1.52

Expiration Date: 12/1/2012


Member Price: $0.00
Non-Member Price: $20.00

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