Managing violence and aggression in the emergency department
Intended for healthcare professionals

Managing violence and aggression in the emergency department

Michael Carver Lead nurse for violence reduction, Barts Health NHS Trust, London, England
Harriet Beard Senior sister, The Royal London Hospital, London, England

Why you should read this article
  • To improve your understanding of the causes and risk factors for violent or aggressive patient behaviour

  • To identify strategies that nurses and healthcare organisations can use to reduce violence and aggression

  • To count towards revalidation as part of your 35 hours of CPD, or you may wish to write a reflective account (UK readers)

  • To contribute towards your professional development and local registration renewal requirements (non-UK readers)

Half of all reported violent incidents in healthcare settings occur in the emergency department (ED), so ED nurses are disproportionately affected by violence and aggression. Violence and aggression can cause physical injury, psychological harm, delays to patient care, eroded staff morale, increased sick leave and low staff retention. This article explores potential causes and risk factors for violent or aggressive behaviour from patients and visitors in the ED. It discusses risk assessment tools, management approaches and risk reduction strategies that can be used in the ED to tackle violence and aggression. The article also features a case study describing a successful small-scale trial of body-worn cameras at an East London ED.

Emergency Nurse. doi: 10.7748/en.2021.e2094

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software



Conflict of interest

None declared

Carver M, Beard H (2021) Managing violence and aggression in the emergency department. Emergency Nurse. doi: 10.7748/en.2021.e2094

Published online: 19 August 2021

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