Violence and aggression against nurses is a complex occupational hazard facing the nursing profession. Recently, the phenomenon has started receiving a growing national attention. Paradoxically, the job sector with the aim of providing to care for people appears to be at the highest risk of workplace violence. It is difficult to provide an accurate and adequate definition of violence and aggression because the opinion of a person of what constitutes violent behavior varies between cultures and social backgrounds and often the limits between acceptable and unacceptable behavior can be various.
The term “aggression” is referred generally to the behavior that aims to cause harm to another person. On the other hand, with term of “violence” we call – characterize the attack to a person with the intent to cause harm. Violence can be physical or psychological it includes: Threatening behavior (expression of intention to harm, threatening body language, expression of verbal or written threats), Verbal abuse, Humiliation, Destruction of items, Assault (physical violence, use of weapons, rape, murder), Robbery.
Nurses are among the workers in the workforce that many times during their daily duties can become recipients of a violent behaviour. Too frequently, nurses are exposed to violence – primarily from patients, patients’ families, and visitors. “This violence can take the form of intimidation, harassment, stalking, beatings, stabbing, shootings, and other forms of assault”. The consequences from such behaviors can be many; first of all there is a risk of injury. On the other hand, the physiological effects for the nurses that faced a violent incident can result to fear, frustration, lack of trust in hospital administration, and decreased job satisfaction – decreased desire for their own profession. Especially, if the violent incidences take place in the early carrier stages of nurses can even lead them to leave their profession. “Violence not only affects nurses’ perspectives of the profession, but it also undermines recruitment and retention efforts” which is a disadvantage – threaten in the patient’s care effort.
There is considerable evidence that workers in the health care sector are at greater risk of violence than workers in any other sector. The National Nursing council of Greece reveled data which indicate showed that half of all non-fatal injuries from occupational assaults and violent acts occurred in health care and social services settings (ENE, 2011). In addition, they reported that in a annually base, almost 10 in 10,000 employees in the health services sector suffer injuries that require time off from work.
In a national survey conducted in 2008, the results report that in a generally at least 86 per cent of nursing staff has been the recipient of a violent behaviour during their employment. In the same survey, data demonstrate that less than the half of the physical violence incidents against the nurses were reported to the appropriate authorities (Gerberich et al., 2004). This, it happens mainly because of two reasons: a) The nursing staff has inadequate knowledge – information about their rights or they do not trust the national system about the administration of their case regarding the dispensing of justice. b) A big part of the nursing staff has developed the wrong belief that the violent incidents are an expected part of the daily nursing routine that is inevitable. These factors are challenges that should be combated in the nursing profession. The requirements in order to achieve this goal are many; enhance of relevant legislation, administrative support of professionals, improvement of knowledge of nurses about their rights and the appropriate naming of a legally accepted behaviour.