Nurses under threat: A comparison of content of 28 aggression management programs Academic Article uri icon


  • Staff who work in the health service are now recognized as a high-risk group for assault in the workplace. Recently, professional and industrial organizations have begun to suggest appropriate curricula for training staff in aggression management. However, there is currently a plethora of aggression management training programs (AMP) available, varying both in content and in duration. In this paper, 28 programs were evaluated against 13 major content areas derived from the recommendations made from key professional and industrial organizations, and what may be today considered appropriate/ideal content areas for AMP. Information on programs available in English was sought via standard databases, the Internet, program providers, and through networking with colleagues and professional organizations. The majority of the programs reviewed covered personal safety issues for staff and patients, together with legal issues. The use of restraint, pharmacological management of aggression and seclusion were features of programs specifically addressing the needs of health care staff in mental health settings. Most programs appeared not to address the psychological and organizational costs associated with aggression in the workplace. This is surprising since the literature suggests that the effects of violence are wide and varied, including increased absenteeism and sick leave, property damage, decreased productivity, security costs, litigation, workers' compensation, reduced job satisfaction together with recruitment and retention issues. Also, few programs were based on a systematic evaluation of their outcomes. Suggestions for program development and their teaching are discussed.

publication date

  • March 2005