Date of Conferral


Date of Award







David Stein


This phenomenological study explored female nursing students' perceptions of their experiences of workplace violence and aggression, their methods for coping with and adjusting to the violence, and the implications for nursing education.

A notice soliciting volunteers was posted on student bulletin boards in multiple schools of nursing throughout Illinois. Ten participants were selected from a pool of volunteers who met predetermined criteria. Open-ended interviews each lasting approximately 60 minutes were conducted and tape-recorded. Four interview questions that guided the process changed as the narrative unfolded, and in some cases, probing became necessary to gain a rich description. Data analysis was completed using Colaizzi's Seven-Step Model.

The results of this study suggested nursing students may experience some form of workplace violence during their nursing education. Once exposed the nursing student may become a silent victim, afraid to report the incident, fearing she will be expelled from nursing school. As a silent victim, the student lacks the ability to cope with the situation partly because of the limited nursing curriculum on workplace violence. This may lead to anger, fear, multiple stress responses, and a distorted perception of caring in the nursing profession. In the end, the nursing student may enter the workplace as a nurse perpetuating the cycle of silent victim of violence, or take on the challenge to break the cycle, opening the way for improving the nursing profession.