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In the front line of risk from violence

Violence perpetrated by patients against nurses can have devastating effects, and leads to high staff sickness rates. Recent NICE guidance recommends staff training to spot the triggers of violence. Structured risk assessment can reduce the risks but must be supported by employers.

Training is essential to help staff anticipate triggers for aggression

Picture credit: Science Photo Library

Violence and the threat of it can have serious detrimental effects on nursing staff, leading to sickness and absenteeism, poor morale and even burnout.

According to figures collated by NHS Protect, there were 68,683 assaults reported against NHS staff in England in 2013/14, a rise of 8% over the previous 12 months. Almost seven out of ten reported assaults happened in mental health or learning disability settings.

In May, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence published updated guidance on the short-term management of violence and aggression in mental health, health and community settings.

With a clear focus on preventing violent situations, the guidance includes detailed advice on managing any incidents safely.

Among the recommendations from NICE is

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