New study asks ED nurses if they also feel vulnerable away from work

Published:31 August 2016

CQUniversity PhD candidate Jacqueline Ingram (left) with Associate Professor Trudy Dwyer. Associate Professor Tania Signal is also involved in the research project.

It’s long been recognised that healthcare workers can become victims of stalking and murder due to their exposure to volatile patients.
Now a new Australian study seeks input from Emergency Department (ED) nurses about their specific experiences of abuse and intimidation at the hands of patients.
CQUniversity PhD candidate Jacqueline Ingram says the new study aims to detect ED nurses’ experiences in the community, as well as in the workplace.
“Our research focuses not only upon the frequency with which ED nurses experience direct violence and threats, but also upon the frequency with which our sense of safety is undermined by encounters with patients, while on and off duty,” Ms Ingram says.
The researcher is planning a conference presentation aiming to challenge the mindset that work-related violence for ED nurses is something that begins and ends at the doors of our emergency departments. The presentation is scheduled for the 14th International Conference for Emergency Nurses due in Alice Springs in October.
“Emergency nurses are so frequently subjected to abuse, intimidation and harassment that we have become inured to the problem and rarely report such incidents through formal channels,” Ms Ingram says.
“Perhaps even more common than overt victimisation, is the recurrent and pervasive sense of vulnerability experienced by ED nurses both at work and in our communities.
“For many of our colleagues, perhaps more so for those working in regional, rural and remote centres, the work-related vulnerability and safety infringements they experience at the hands of patients is something that may follow them home.
“As readily identifiable and easily locatable members of their communities, things as simple as travelling to and from work, walking down the street, shopping for groceries, attending a sporting event or even dropping their kids at school could become hazardous.”
Those interested in contributing to the research can visit the Facebook site: Research:- Compassion Fatigue & Burnout or .
The research team includes Ms Ingram along with CQUniversity Associate Professors Trudy Dwyer and Tania Signal and Professor Kerry Reid-Searl.