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dementia, long-term care, nursing, workplace violence



  1. Danesh, Valerie C. RN, BSN, MS-HSA
  2. Malvey, Donna PhD
  3. Fottler, Myron D. PhD


Violence in the health care workplace is occurring in a covert fashion; it is occurring at the patient bedside. However, data on workplace violence tend to be underreported and relatively scarce. This article identifies and examines the phenomenon of unreported and underreported workplace violence against nursing staff that is virtually hidden. Health care executives need to be attuned to this type of violence because it may significantly affect their ability to recruit and retain nursing staff. This article provides a synthesis of literature and data from health services administration and nursing and human resources, as well as the experience of the first author. Workplace violence in health care is a critical issue that must be addressed from legal, financial, ethical, and human resources management perspectives. It is a problem for staff providing direct care services to patients with Alzheimer disease. This article suggests strategies and offers a framework for meeting the challenges of managing hidden workplace violence. In addition to the more discrete consequences of violence including physical injury, physical disability, trauma, or even death, the complementary organizational effects call for thoughtful managerial planning and critical thinking. Guidelines for preventing and addressing workplace violence in health care organizations are also published by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.