Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing Administration and Emergency Management




College of Natural & Health Sciences

Committee Chair

Dr. Shelly Randall

Second Committee Member

Dr. Jennifer Helms

Third Committee Member

Dr. Terri McKown

Program Director

Dr. Jennifer Helms

Dean of Graduate College

Dr. Richard Schoephoerster


Workplace violence towards healthcare workers is an increasing problem within the behavioral health nursing profession. Workplace violence is a threat or an act of physical violence or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs in the workplace (U.S. Department of Labor, 2013). The purpose of this quantitative research study was to identify the contributing factors of workplace violence in an acute care psychiatric facility and to implement a “safe environment” workplace violence prevention program for psychiatric nurses. This convenience sample (N=23) of registered nurses were recruited from an acute pediatric psychiatric setting in Arkansas, treating children ages five to seventeen. Nurses were asked to complete a survey that assessed the different types of violence they had experienced from patients. Participants then attended a “Safe Environment” presentation on risk factors for violence, how violence affects the healthcare worker, training on how to manage aggressive patients, and how to identify safety concerns in the workplace. Nurses then completed an evaluation survey to determine if the presentation was effective in preparing nurses to manage aggressive patients. Data from incident reports on reported hospital employee injuries and restraint records related to patient aggression towards staff were also collected and analyzed. The findings from this study included identifying contributing factors of aggression, the need for support for nurses who have experienced violence, and the need for hospitals to have a workplace violence prevention program in place. The small sample size and lack of current literature on pediatric psychiatric units support the need for additional research.