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Protect yourself when dealing with violent patients


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Anger is an emotion—nothing more and nothing less. It’s a very powerful emotion that can stem from feelings of frustration, hurt, annoyance, or disappointment. It is a normal human emotion that can range from slight irritation to strong rage.

Here are some tips for handling a patient who seems frustrated, angry, and on the way to becoming violent:

  • Avoid threatening behaviors. Threatening behaviors may increase fear or prompt assault.
  • Avoid shouting. If the person is not listening to you, raising your voice may not help.
  • Avoid criticizing. This might escalate the situation.
  • Avoid standing over the patient. Keep a comfortable distance and put yourself as the same level as the patient. If he or she is seated, seat yourself.
  • Don't back yourself or the patient into a corner.

Source: Stressed Out About Difficult Patients. Check out our latest nursing resources here.