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Handling difficult or aggressive patients: advice for nurses

Nurses are all too familiar with a whole spectrum of hostile behaviour – so why do patients lash out and what do you do if you’ve been attacked?

Nurses are all too familiar with a whole spectrum of hostile behaviour – so why do patients lash out and what do you do if you’ve been attacked?

  • Verbal, physical and sexual assaults on nurses is most prevalent in acute and urgent care, care of older people and mental health services
  • Employers have a duty of care to protect staff and not dismiss inappropriate behaviour as trivial or merely to be expected
  • One nurse recalls a traumatic assault, plus tips on keeping yourself safe and what to do if you experience violence at work

Dealing with ‘challenging’ patients, who display aggression, use offensive language and other abusive behaviours, is an uncomfortable but all

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