Coping with Hostility
Hostility and overt aggression have been identified as factors that have a significant influence on the delivery of clinical care (Gournay 2001) and on the recruitment and retention of staff (Jackson, Clare & Mannix 2002). Such hostility is not restricted to interactions with patients and their families; it also occurs in interactions between staff members.
In the past, health-care professionals have accepted aggression as being ‘part of the territory’ (Daldt 1981), but this is now recognised as toxic and is actively discouraged by organisations through the promulgation of ‘zero tolerance’programs (Whittingdon 2002). It is important that nurse managers be aware of these developments and support systems that adequately cope with the threat of hostility.
To put in place a system that protects both patients and staff, nurse managers require a sound understanding of the ways in which hostility and aggression evolve and how they can be dealt with. Nurse managers should be familiar with the policies and protocols of the facility in which they work and play a major part in the ongoing development of those policies and protocols.
- Predictors of hostility and aggressive behaviour
- Recognising imminent aggression
- The aggression cycle