The psychological impact of aggression on nursing staff


Aggression and violence towards nursing staff in UK health care is a growing problem. While the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence's (NICE, 2005a) guidelines 'The Short-Term Management of Disturbed/Violent Behaviour in In-Patient Psychiatric Setting and Emergency Department' offer a way forward in managing aggression for healthcare staff, the psychological impact of aggression remains an area of concern. Post-incident review has been identified as an approach to considering untoward incidents of aggression, yet post-incident support and interventions for staff experiencing the psychological effects of aggression remain inconsistent and curtailed in many areas. This article discusses the care of a nurse who experienced post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of aggression in the workplace. The process of assessment and treatment is presented with underpinning theories of trauma used to illuminate the discussion. Practical use of current recommended treatments of cognitive behavioural therapy and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing is offered as a method of addressing a growing problem in UK health care.






Gwen Bonner
Sue McLaughlin

Original Work Citation

Bonner, G., & McLaughlin, S. (2007). The psychological impact of aggression on nursing staff. British Journal of Nursing, 16(13), 810-814



“The psychological impact of aggression on nursing staff,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed September 17, 2021,

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