Workplace violence—any threat or act of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening behavior—is a serious problem worldwide. Health care workers have an increased risk of workplace violence compared with workers in private industry. Nurses are the most common victims,4–6  and patients are the main perpetrators (however, visitors and employees also can precipitate workplace violence). In 2014, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that serious workplace violence is more than 3 times higher in health care settings than other workplaces, with an incidence of 16.2 per 10 000 employees. Such estimates are conservative because of gross underreporting of workplace violence in health care settings.2,3,8–10 

The percentage of nurses reporting having experienced verbal threats or actual physical violence ranges from 33% to 65% (Australia),11  to 50%...

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