Patient violence has become a major issue in mental health facilities in Australia. In the state of New South Wales health department policy requires all staff who have contact with patients to engage in mandatory training in the management of aggression. Staff who experience violence are strongly encouraged to report the incident; and it is the responsibility of line managers to enquire about the staff member’s recovery and to inform them of the availability of the employee assistance program (EAP) which is an independent counselling service funded by NSW Health. International researchers have reported on mental health nurses’ experiences of being assaulted by patients but there are gaps in the literature about how mental health nurses respond following assault by their patients. In particular the present researcher was interested in the source of the anger and distress reported by assaulted nurses as well as the relevance of the victims’ work environment in shaping their responses post-assault. The extent to which the employment of post-assault coping strategies such as avoidance and denial diminishes the capacity of nurses to engage therapeutically with patients was another issue of concern.
2nd International Conference on Violence in the Health Sector: From Awareness to Sustainable Action. Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Violence in the Health Sector - From Awareness to Sustainable Action (Amsterdam, Netherlands 27-29 October, 2010) p. 73-77