UBC Faculty Research and Publications

A Realist Review of Violence Prevention Education in Healthcare Provost, Sharon; MacPhee, Maura; Daniels, Michael A.; Naimi, Michelle; McLeod, Chris B.


Violence from patients and visitors towards healthcare workers is an international concern affecting the safety and health of workers, quality of care, and healthcare system sustainability. Although the predominant intervention has been violence prevention (VP) education for healthcare workers, evaluating its effectiveness is challenging due to underreporting of violence and the inherent complexity of both violence and the health care environment. This review utilized a theory-driven, realist approach to synthesize and analyze a wide range of academic and grey literature to identify explanations of how and why VP education makes a difference in preventing violence and associated physical and psychological injury to workers. The review confirmed the importance of positioning VP education as part of a VP strategy, and consideration of the contexts that influence successful application of VP knowledge and skills. Synthesis and analysis of patterns of evidence across 64 documents resulted in 11 realist explanations of VP education effectiveness. Examples include education specific to clinical settings, unit-level modeling and mentoring support, and support of peers and supervisors during violent incidents. This review informs practical program and policy decisions to enhance VP education effectiveness in healthcare settings.

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