On Average, Two Nurses are Assaulted Every Hour, New Press Ganey Analysis Finds

Sep 08, 2022

CHICAGO (Sept. 8, 2022) – According to Press Ganey, renowned leader in patient, member, employee and consumer experience across the healthcare ecosystem, more than two nursing personnel were assaulted every hour in Q2 2022. That equates to roughly 57 assaults per day, 1,739 assaults per month and 5,217 assaults per quarter.

“Nurses take an oath to do no harm, and many put their own safety and health at risk to help a patient. However, violence should not be considered just ‘part of the job,’” said Jeff Doucette, DNP, R.N., NEA-BC, FACHE, FAAN, chief nursing officer, Press Ganey. “What’s especially concerning about these numbers is that they are likely even higher, as assaults generally go underreported by healthcare professionalsand nurses in particular.”

Press Ganey’s National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators® (NDNQI®) also unveiled staggering statistics, such as:

  • The highest number of assaults occurred in psychiatric units, emergency departments and, surprisingly, pediatric units such as pediatric burn, pediatric rehabilitation and pediatric surgery.
  • Obstetrics and neonatal intensive care units have the lowest number of nurse assaults reported.
  • The majority of assailants are patients. While patients are the largest source of violence, family members, co-workers, visitors and intruders also perpetrate violence.
  • The majority of assailants are male. An exception is in pediatric units and rehab units, where females are more likely than males to perpetrate violence.
  • Psych units and rehab units have the largest percentage of assaults resulting in moderate or severe injuries.

“Violence toward nurses has reached an alarming rate, nearing, if not already, an epidemic. We are calling on all healthcare leaders to declare zero tolerance for hostility toward healthcare workers, improve caregiver well-being and advance our shared commitment to zero harm,” Dr. Doucette said. “Nurses deserve to be protected and feel safe while caring for people in their most vulnerable state.”

Here are steps that healthcare organizations can take to mitigate violence against nurses:

  • Implement reporting systems for record-keeping and safety and well-being program evaluation;
  • Ensure caregiver safety is a core value, and set the expectation that violence on the job is neither expected nor accepted;
  • Enact formal policies and procedures for risk identification, hazard prevention and control, standard response plans and post-incident support; and
  • Implement training and education programs that teach warning signs, de-escalation techniques, progressive behavior control, emergency management, and communication and teamwork.

For more exclusive research and best practices for prioritizing nurse safety, visit PressGaney.com.

About the Analysis

Press Ganey’s analysis was pulled from Q2 2022 and was conducted based on findings from 483 out of 6,000 facilities in its U.S.-based National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators® (NDNQI®). An assault is defined as any encounter involving forcible, unwanted physical or sexual contact, regardless of who carries out the assault and regardless of whether there is intent to harm. It should be noted that accidental contact is not considered an assault.


About Press Ganey 
Press Ganey pioneered the healthcare performance improvement movement 35 years ago. Today Press Ganey offers an integrated suite of solutions that enable enterprise transformation across the patient journey. Delivered through a cutting-edge digital platform built on a foundation of data security, Press Ganey solutions address safety, clinical excellence, patient experience and workforce engagement. The company works with more than 41,000 healthcare facilities in its mission to reduce patient suffering and enhance caregiver resilience to improve the overall safety, quality and experience of care.  


Media Contact:
Ty Fiesel
MP&F Strategic Communications
[email protected]