Introduction: Emergency departments (EDs) have been identified as the highest risk area within a hospital to be exposed to workplace violence (WPV). This study aimed to estimate the prevalence of WPV against healthcare providers in EDs in Saudi Arabia, to explore the experiences and attitudes of ED staff toward WPV, and to identify the possible risk factors for WPV. Methods: A cross-sectional survey study was conducted with physicians and nurses working in 37 EDs in three provinces in Saudi Arabia, using a convenient sampling method. Over a 1-year period, 787 ED staff members were contacted and a 60% response rate was achieved. Results: The 1-year prevalence of at least one violent act against ED staff was 45%. Verbal threats were the most common type of WPV (42%). The study found that the prevalence of WPV against physicians (47%) was higher than against nurses (41%). However, when comparing the physician and nurse groups, none of the types of WPV was statistically significant. More female participants were exposed to stalking compared to male participants (OR 0.38; 95% CI 0.150.92). Non Arabic speakers experienced more WPV in the form of verbal threats and physical assault than the Arabic speaking group (OR 0.14; 95% CI 0.030.75). Participants working at the Ministry of Health hospitals were more likely to be exposed to a confrontation when off-duty and to stalking. Conclusion: Almost half of the ED physicians and nurses experienced one or more WPV incident during a 12-month period.
Keywords: Violence, Emergency department, Saudi Arabia