Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

Nursing Best Practice Guidelines

Background
  • Violence in the workplace is believed to be on the rise, despite evidence of significant underreporting.
  • Sustained exposure to violence in the workplace, including aggression, abuse, and bullying can have serious physical and psychological consequences, causing some nurses to consider leaving the profession.
  • Workplace violence, including disruptive physician behaviour, also results in decreased patient safety.
  • Violence in the workplace involves misuse of power and control.
  • Violence in the workplace includes “incidents where staff are abused, threatened, bullied, or assaulted in circumstances related to their work, including commuting to and from work, involving explicit or implicit challenges to their safety, well-being or health”
  • Violence in the workplace may take the forms of physical, psychological or sexual abuse, harassment, mobbing, bullying, or aggression.
  • Violence may involve action or withholding action.
  • Violence may be done unintentionally or intentionally. It often involves interactions between people in different roles and power relationships.