UC Nursing interim dean shepherds compilation of workplace violence research

Gordon Gillespie served as guest editor of a special edition of the Journal of Emergency Nursing

UC College of Nursing Interim Dean Gordon Gillespie, an expert in workplace violence in emergency departments, oversaw the compilation of the latest research on the topic as guest editor for a Journal of Emergency Nursing special issue.

Gillespie, PhD, DNP, who endured around 100 assaults in his first few years of nursing practice in emergency departments (EDs), has researched workplace violence for nearly two decades. On an episode of the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) podcast, Gillespie discusses the journal’s special issue and calls the invitation to serve as guest editor a "crowning moment” in his career.

The special issue includes seven research studies, along with clinical and practice improvement articles and editorials on workplace violence risk assessment, response, prevention and peer support. Authors hail from five countries and include health professionals from the fields of nursing, medicine, paramedicine, pharmacy, public health and occupational health.

Gillespie says this professional diversity underscores that the problem of workplace violence in EDs persists. He hopes, in part, this special issue will direct more attention to the problem and provide a comprehensive resource for health professionals to advocate for change.

"Workplace violence takes its toll on not only the people who are assaulted but also on the culture and operation of the entire ED," Gillespie said. “Each paper provides perspective and data for others to consider as they implement measures in their own EDs and promote a culture of increased safety and security for their coworkers and their patients.”  

In the special edition, Gillespie co-authored an editorial, “Why Won’t It Stop: Workplace Violence in Emergency Care,” which defines workplace violence; explains driving factors behind it; universal precautions providers could use; and consequences for patients, visitors, workers, patients and the workplace when violence occurs.

The publication also includes research by Gillespie and Peggy Berry, PhD, a 2015 graduate of UC's PhD in nursing program. Their work analyzes qualitative data from 167 emergency nurses assaulted in the workplace and calls for emotional support for these nurses to deter thoughts of retaliation and minimize adverse impacts on their mental health and workplace productivity.

Throughout his career, Gillespie has advocated for workplace violence awareness and developed education and prevention programs to address the problem in health care, especially for ED nurses. His work has been funded by the CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, American Nurses Foundation and ENA Foundation. He was invited by NIOSH to develop an educational program on workplace bullying and consult on two national online learning modules. He co-chaired the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario's second edition of the best practice guideline, "Preventing and Managing Bullying and Violence in the Workplace," and served as an international director of the ENA.

To view the Special Issue on Workplace Violence in Emergency Care, visit jenonline.org/current.

Featured image at top: UC College of Nursing Interim Dean Gordon Gillespie. Colleen Kelley/UC Marketing + Brand

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UC College of Nursing offers graduate-level programs supported by faculty experts in workplace violence for nurses who want to develop original research or interventions on the topic.

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