Student nurses' de-escalation of patient aggression: A pretest-posttest intervention study

Johannes Nau*, Ruud Halfens, Ian Needham, Theo Dassen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background Experts recommend staff training to prevent and manage aggressive situations Involving patients or their relatives However, in many countries this subject is not coveted in pre-registration nut sing education. In addition, the evidence regal ding its impact on practical placements remains weak Objective This study examines the influence of an aggression management training programme for nursing students on their performance in de-escalating aggressive patients Design Pretest-posttest within-and-between-groups design Setting A School of Nursing in Germany Participants Convenience sample out of six classes of nursing students at differing educational levels (10th to 28th month of nursing education, n = 78. mean age = 22) Methods. In a cross-sectional and longitudinal two groups before and after design nursing students encountered two scenarios (A or B) with simulation patients After completing the training, each student was confronted with the unknown other scenario De-escalation experts nom three German-speaking countries evaluated 156 video scenes using the De-escalating Aggressive Behaviour Scale (DABS), not knowing whether the videos had been recorded before or after the training Mean values and statistical significance tests wet e computed to compare the Jesuits Results The performance levels of students who had been trained lose significantly from 274 to 3.65 as measured by the DABS on a 5-point Likert scale (Wilcoxon test p <001) The trained students managed scenario A significantly better than the untrained students (untrained 2 50, named 3.70, Mann-Whitney-U-test p <001.) Similar results wet e found for scenario 13 (untrained 3 01. trained 361, Mann-Whitney-U-test p <001) No significant differences were found in the pretest results irrespective the students' age or duration of previous nursing education Conclusions. Aggression management training is able to improve nursing students' performance in de-escalating aggressive behaviour A maturation-effect on the de-escalating performance due to general nursing education or age is unlikely
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)699-708
JournalInternational Journal of Nursing Studies
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010


  • Aggression management
  • De-escalation
  • Education
  • Intervention study
  • Nursing
  • Students
  • Workplace violence


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