Certified Nursing Assistants’ Perceived Workplace Violence in Long-Term Care Facilities: A Qualitative Analysis

Academic Article


  • Background: Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) provide 80% to 90% of direct care and are 23 times more likely to experience aggressive behavior from residents in long-term care (LTC) facilities than in other health care settings. The purpose of this study was to describe CNAs’ perceptions of workplace violence while working in LTC facilities. Methods: Ten CNAs were recruited from five LTC facilities through snowball sampling. A semi-structured interview was conducted with CNAs currently working in LTC facilities in Alabama. Question domains included (a) demographics, (b) residents’ behavior, (c) behavior of residents with dementia, (d) experiences of verbal or physical violence from residents, (e) quality of care delivered, (f) coping strategies, (g) administrative support, and (h) training for dementia-related care challenges. The resulting transcripts were thematically analyzed. Findings: CNAs described workplace violence as part of the job. They expressed a lack of administrative support as inadequate communication and a dismissal of violence against them. They regularly experienced racially charged abuse, but the perception of abuse was moderated by the presence or absence of dementia. They described a lack of training and direction to recognize and de-escalate workplace violence. Conclusions/Application to Practice: Workplace violence from residents residing in LTC facilities is an occupational health risk for CNAs. LTC facilities need a multisystem approach to reduce episodes of resident-on-CNA violence. This approach should include comprehensive training to recognize triggers of violent behavior, especially when working with individuals with dementia, as well as administrative support, and mental health resources to address the cumulative and negative consequences of racism.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Xiao C; Winstead V; Townsend C; Jablonski RA
  • Start Page

  • 366
  • End Page

  • 374
  • Volume

  • 69
  • Issue

  • 8