Nursing students' experiences of violence and aggression: a mixed-methods study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

414 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Violence and aggression cause significant problems for nursing staff and students working across healthcare.

Objectives: To identify the prevalence of aggression experienced by nursing students whilst on clinical placement in one UK city, and rates and experiences of reporting of aggression.

Design: A convergent mixed method design, with mixing occurring at the objective and inference stages.

Participants: Preregistration nursing students who had completed at least one clinical placement.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey and concurrent focus groups were conducted between May and December 2018. Students completed the ‘Students’ Experiences of Violence and Aggression Survey’ (SEVAS) and were separately invited to participate in focus groups.

Results: There were 129 responses to the survey and 36 students participated in five focus groups. Only about a third of non-physical aggression was reported and around half of the physical aggression and sexual harassment. Very few incidents were reported to the university. Themes from the focus groups encompassed ideas of the ubiquity of violence, that students did not know what they were doing, and issues of racism, bullying, and compassion.

Conclusions: Universities have a responsibility to students; this includes preparing them adequately to manage aggression, and ensuring reporting is easy to do and adequately dealt with. A majority of students who responded to the survey had experienced non-physical aggression in the past year (81%), over half had experienced physical aggression (56%) and more than one in three had experienced sexual harassment (40%).
Original languageEnglish
Article number105024
Pages (from-to)105024
JournalNurse Education Today
Early online date19 Jun 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Jun 2021


  • Bullying
  • Clinical placement
  • Mixed methods
  • Nursing students
  • Workplace violence


Dive into the research topics of 'Nursing students' experiences of violence and aggression: a mixed-methods study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this