The Impact of a Violent Physical Assault on a Registered Nurse: Her Healing Journey and Return to Work

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Abstract

Healthcare practitioners are at an increased risk for workplace violence. What happens to a practitioner after a devastating physical assault from a patient in the workplace? This case report describes the impact of a violent assault on a registered nurse and her healing journey and return to the workplace. The Department of Veteran Affairs/Department of Defense “Clinical Practice Guidelines for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder” outline three categories of risk factors that are associated with the development of posttraumatic stress disorder: pretraumatic factors, peritraumatic or trauma-related factors, and posttraumatic factors. Each of these risk factors can contribute to the likelihood of an individual developing posttraumatic stress disorder after a traumatic incident and will be used to frame the discussion of this case. The registered nurse gave her full and informed consent for the author to tell her story.

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