194441 Correctional nurses' experiences of violence in the workplace

Monday, November 9, 2009: 2:30 PM

Sarah L. Veele-Brice, MPH, PHC , Department of Health Services, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Diane P. Martin, MA, PhD , Department of Health Services, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Clarence Spigner, DrPH , Department of Health Services, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Thomas M. Wickizer, PhD, MPH , Health Services, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

Nurses are three times more likely to experience workplace violence than other professionals. A growing body of research has evaluated nurses' experiences of workplace violence, but correctional nurses are often excluded. This research will estimate the prevalence and characteristics of workplace victimization among correctional nurses.


All nurses employed by the Washington State Department of Corrections (N=291) received a self-administered (internet and hardcopy) survey to complete anonymously. The survey was comprised of 125 multiple choice questions. Items explored nurses' experiences of four types of violence: physical, verbal, threatened, and sexual harassment. Characteristics of the incident, institutional and individual violence prevention behaviors, demographic characteristics of respondents, and respondent's perceived risk of victimization were the independent variables of interest.


Data collection is occurring January – February, 2009 with an expected response rate of 55%. Preliminary results indicate that 10% of nurses have been physically victimized at work within the past year, 47% threatened, 71% verbally abused, and 24% sexually harassed. Nearly all nurses perceive their risk of physical (84%), verbal (94%), and threatened (92%) violence to be much/somewhat higher than employees in other professions.

Twelve month prevalence of workplace victimization and descriptive analyses exploring demographic and job related variables associated with victimization will be presented. Logistic and linear regression will be conducted to predict the relationship of demographic and institutional characteristics on odds of victimization and perceived risk of victimization.


The results of this study will provide information to improve worker safety within correctional facilities. Results will also allow for comparisons to be made between correctional nurses and nurses in other fields and correctional nurses and employees in other industries.

Learning Objectives:
1)Describe correctional nurses’ risk of workplace violent victimization (physical, verbal, threatened, and sexual harassment). 2)Identify two individual and institutional risk factors among correctional nurses for workplace victimization.

Keywords: Workplace Safety, Violence Prevention

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have a graduate degree in epidemiology, am currently completing a PhD in Health Services with an emphasis on occupational health and a focus on injury prevention, and am the PI of the study.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.