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Witnessing abuse

I witnessed a nursing colleague hitting a client. I intervened and stopped the abuse. When I questioned my colleague, she told me she was tired and frustrated but it will never happen again. She then asked me not to tell our manager. What is my responsibility in this situation?

You are responsible for protecting the client by reporting the physical abuse to the appropriate authority in your organization. Nurses protect clients from harm by ensuring abuse is prevented or stopped, and reported. If a nurse witnesses any member of the health care team abusing a client, then the nurse must intervene immediately and take action by reporting the event to the employer or authority responsible for the health care provider. A nurse must also inform the client of their right to contact the police and CNO.

For more information, see the Therapeutic Nurse-Client Relationship practice standard, the Preventing Abuse fact sheet, and CNO’s abuse prevention program, One is One Too Many.

Page last reviewed June 07, 2022