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Free On-line Violence Prevention Training for Nurses

Posted on by Dan Hartley, EdD; Marilyn Ridenour, BSN, MPH

In 2012, the Healthcare and Social Assistance (HCSA) sector was amongst the largest industry sectors in the U.S. employing an estimated 19.4 million workers (13.5% of the total workforce)[1]. On average, over the last decade, U.S. healthcare workers have accounted for two-thirds of the nonfatal workplace violence injuries in all industries involving days away from work [2].  Healthcare workers face the risk of both physical violence and non-physical violence, such as verbal abuse, on the job.  These numbers represent only the assaults that resulted in time away from work and not the less severe physical injuries or the psychological trauma that HCSA workers experience from workplace violence. Additionally, these data only capture the reported incidents.  The literature suggests that the number of assaults reported by healthcare workers is greatly underreported.

Employers seeking to establish an effective workplace violence prevention program in the healthcare industry should incorporate prevention strategies that focus on risk factors from several perspectives including: clinical (patients under the influence of drugs or alcohol) [3,4,5]; environmental (physical layout, design, and contents of the workplace); organizational (policies, procedures, and culture) [3]; and social and economic (distraught family members and challenging economic circumstances) [3].  The 2002 NIOSH publication “Violence: Occupational Hazards in Hospitals” discusses prevention strategies in terms of environmental (installing security devices), administrative (staffing patterns), and behavioral (training).

NIOSH and its partners recognized the lack of workplace violence prevention training available to nurses and other healthcare workers. To address this need, NIOSH and healthcare stakeholders, including nursing and labor organizations, academic groups, other government agencies, and Vida Health Communications, Inc. developed a new free on-line course aimed at training nurses in recognizing and preventing workplace violence.  The course also encourages nurses to become proactive in working with their employers to prevent violence in the healthcare setting.  The multi-media training incorporates text, videos depicting workplace violence incidents, testimonials from real nurses, and module quizzes. Nurses can also receive free continuing education credits for completing the online course.

The course has 13 units that take approximately 15 minutes each to complete and includes   “resume-where-you-left-off” technology.  This feature allows the user to complete any portion of the course, leave to do something, and return where they left off.

Focus groups provided input during the development of the training materials.  Additionally, the course was evaluated by 204 members of the American Nurses Association (ANA).  Here is what some reviewers said about the training.

“It’s a nice learning tool for both those new to the profession and for those with seniority.”

“We really liked the ‘resume-where-you left off’ technology.”

“The on-line course is an effective training tool for hospitals that wish to improve nursing staff’s ability to prevent, assess, and appropriately intervene in incidents of violence in the workplace.”

The course is available on the NIOSH website. It is explained in detail on the YouTube video Workplace Violence Prevention for Nurses Training. Please help us get the word out about this training and provide us with contact information for any organizations that you feel we should reach out to regarding the course.  For more information about NIOSH’s research and recommendations on workplace violence, visit

Dan Hartley, EdD; Marilyn Ridenour, BSN, MPH

Dr. Hartley is the NIOSH Workplace Violence Prevention Coordinator in the Division of Safety Research.

Ms.  Ridenour is a nurse epidemiologist in the NIOSH Division of Safety Research. 

1. NIOSH Division of Safety Research [2013].  Unpublished analyses of 2012 Current Population Survey micro data files.  Morgantown, WV: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health,  Division of Safety Research.

2. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). 2011. Employed persons by detailed industry, sex, race, and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity. Accessed: August 28, 2012.

3. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Guidelines for preventing workplace violence for health care and social service workers. OSHA Publication No. 3148-01R 2004.

4.  Friedman RA. (2006) Violence and Mental Illness — How Strong is the Link? New England Journal of Medicine, 355, 2064-2066.

5. Gillespie GL, Gates DM, Miller M, Howard PK. Workplace violence in Healthcare Settings: Risk Factors and Protective Strategies. Rehabilitation Nursing. 2010; 35(5):177184.

Posted on by Dan Hartley, EdD; Marilyn Ridenour, BSN, MPH

29 comments on “Free On-line Violence Prevention Training for Nurses”

Comments listed below are posted by individuals not associated with CDC, unless otherwise stated. These comments do not represent the official views of CDC, and CDC does not guarantee that any information posted by individuals on this site is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. Read more about our comment policy ».

    Hey! I love your blog post. Its a very relevant and important topic and I think you’ve

    explained multiple aspects very well. Thanks for the information.

    Verbal violence is very big problem in modern time. Employers treat workers like slaves to. I’m glad that you recognize the problem. Something must be done to educate the management panel of firms. Web site is great you have lot of information.

    thank you for touchinh upon very subject.unfortunately there is the problem on the workplace violence over the everywhere of the world.I hope education is useful to solve the problem.

    It’s nice that you have a guide like this. However, the sad fact is that it’s not based on systematic reviews of what actually works. As it happens, at the Cochrane OSH Group we’re currently prepping a series of reviews to bridge this gap. A team in Australia and the US is tackling aggression management training. We’re also applying for funding from the Finnish Work Environment Fund to do two other reviews: 1) Physical structures and devices… and 2) Organisational interventions for preventing violence toward healthcare workers. Should NIOSH wish to throw money at us to move things along faster than the planned 2015 start, we wouldn’t mind that at all.

    great article, i have really enjoyed reading this. i believe that online safety training courses really do help companies and employees

    With the emergence of Internet and online education and training people around the globe can participate and give valuable knowledge to others.
    Above safety training is must for every company and employees

    great article, i have really enjoyed reading this. i believe that online safety training courses really do help companies and employees

    Nice Article. In all countries there is workplace violence. so that safety training program for employees will reduce this kind of problems.

    Thanks for the info… Personally, I think this online safety training really useful for everyone. Keep doing the great thing.

    It’s very useful to everyone. Really Online safety education is very useful to everyone. This is really very informative article. Thank you so much for speending yourn time to spend this article with us. Keep sharing.

    Online education is beneficial to so many people for so many different reasons. I think there should be more courses like this one provided free of charge.

    In our work, to prevent the violence is good, and the course are great, but you have to be ready, we can take self defense programs or you can put limits,

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