Dealing with Stress and Violence in the Workplace

Working in the health care industry often puts health care professionals in the line of danger from ill patients, stressed families, overburdened health care facilities, and the many situations and locations in which each individual works. The Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CIS) Management Tool has been designed to decrease the stress levels of those that experienced or witnessed violence or trauma. This link is one that you can look at in order to write you paper.

Workplace violence: Differences in perceptions of nursing work between those exposed and those not exposed: A cross-sector analysis.

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Write a 1,250-1,500-word paper describing the CIS. Be sure to specifically address:

What are the physical, cognitive, emotional, and behavioral reactions to stress?
Can you name at least three professions that are at risk and would have utilized the tool?
What is the purpose of using the tool?
What is the expected outcome from utilizing this stress management tool?
Do you believe the tool to be useful in decreasing stress and coping with violence in the workplace? Why or why not?
Prepare this assignment according to the APA guidelines found in the APA Style Guide, located on the Student Success Center. An abstract is not required


Sample Answer


Health care providers often face challenging conditions, or traumatizing events, such as dealing with terminally-ill patients, stressed families, or overburdened resources. This necessitates the need for stress and violence management strategies in the health care industry. The Critical Stress Debriefing Management Tool is one of the best tools designed to decrease stress levels among those who experienced violence or trauma. CIS management tool is specifically designed to handle traumatic events. CISM is a formal, well-structured, and professionally organized process that helps in handling critical issues, through the sharing of experiences, venting emotions, and learning stress reactions as well as symptoms. It also involves giving referrals if necessary. Therefore, CISM is not psychotherapy, but rather a highly confidential, voluntary, and educative process that helps in providing effective and efficient procedures for handling traumatizing situations (Bressert, 2020). This paper aims to provide an overview of the application of critical incident stress debriefing management tool in handling distressing or traumatizing conditions at workplaces, especially in the health care sector.

There are different types of CISM interventions that are implemented based on a situation. The CISM variations are used for individuals, groups, or at workplaces to handle stress and trauma. One of the CISM interventions is debriefing, which is a proactive intervention that involves holding a discussion or group meetings about a traumatizing and essential incident (Schneiderman, Ironson, & Siegel, 2015). The CISD, according to the core principles of crisis intervention, is designed to help in mitigating the impacts of a traumatizing situation and assist victims in recovering from stress associated with the distressing conditions. Usually, the CISD sessions are facilitated by qualified professionals, who are specially trained in handling distress. The professionals may include health professionals or peer support personnel. Also, the CISD sessions usually last for about 24 to 72 hours after the occurrence of the distressing events (Clark et al., 2019). However, for exceptional circumstances, the sessions may be held later.

Distressing conditions take different forms – physical, cognitive, emotional, or behavioral stress. Over time, stressors have been used to a greater degree to influence peoples’ mood, sense of being, behavior, and general health (Schneiderman, Ironson, & Siegel, 2015). However, for a chronic or seemingly unending trauma, the use of stressors usually has long-term side effects. Also, the use of stressors depends on various variables, which include a person’s biological vulnerability, nature and the persistence of the stressors, and the distressing events. Some of the traumatic events that may require the use of special stress management strategies include sexual assault, loss of family members to an accident, or contracting a terminal illness such as cancer (Clark et al., 2019). Individuals affected with such conditions experience often show physical, cognitive, emotional, and behavioral reactions, which, when not handled properly, may result in disastrous outcomes.

Distress or traumatic events are always accompanied by several reactions. Physical reactions include agitated behavior such as twiddling of figures, dizziness, general restlessness, difficulty swallowing, fatigue, and increased heart rate. Other reactions include a lump in the throat, sleep disturbances, and noncardiac chest pains (Bressert, 2020). However, some physical manifestations may characterize other physical or mental disorders that require well-defined guidelines to be followed by health care professionals to distinguish. Cognitive signs of stress, on the other hand, include mental slowness, confusion, generally negative attitudes, concentration difficulty, forgetfulness, and inability to think logically. Therefore, distressed individuals have impaired problem-solving skills and tend to make hasty decisions, which may have other side health impacts. Emotional manifestation includes irritation, apathy, sense of helplessness, and frustrations, among other signs. Lastly, behavioral reactions to traumatic events include poor relation at the workplace, decreased sex drive, inability to attend to daily duties, sense of loneliness, and desire for solitude (Bressert, 2020).

Distress and trauma are negative life events that cause depressive episodes in life. Other studies show that stressful life events are potential causes of depression. Recently, health care professionals and researchers in the field of medicine have established a linkage between distress and other health complications like heart disease, depression, and blood pressure. Besides, distress results in immune system suppression, which increases the chances of becoming vulnerable to diseases, such as emotional disorders, common cold, and neurological complications (Wuthnow et al., 2016). The Critical Stress Debriefing Management Tool, is an excellent strategy in helping people adapt to various distresses and become optimistic in life once again. The CISD is specifically designed to help cope with their exposure to distressing events, such as suicide, accidents, sexual assaults, or other extremely violent and inhumane events. The CISD employ well-structured interventions and steps to help victims of a traumatic event recover. The steps allow the affected individuals to open up and freely discuss their experiences, receive support, and learn coping strategies from those who have experienced a similar situation (Wuthnow et al., 2016). The first-person experiences shared enable victims to enhance their coping abilities while decreasing the chances of making uninformed, disastrous decisions. Besides, CISD help in avoiding the probability of developing other health complications associated with stress, such as heart disease, and rise in blood pressure.

In hospitals, social workers are considered qualified and qualified and in a better position of offering CISD interventions. This is because health care social workers usually face different forms of emergencies while helping health care professionals. Besides, hospital social workers have a range of skills necessary for conducting CISD (Pack, 2014). Effective utilization of the CISD tool requires a multi-disciplinary approach, which includes contributions of peers within one’s workplace. CISD debriefers say that having trusted peers at workplaces help in fostering trust and flow of information during the group debriefing process. Successful debriefing process requires that the debriefed and the debriefers should develop a healthy relationship: “gentle, respectful interactions, clear verbal and non-verbal communication, clear co-leader leadership” (Pack, 2014). Therefore, it is highly recommendable to use qualified and experienced clinicians in providing CISD session. Qualified clinicians are competent in selecting participants who are suited for the debriefing process by assessing the underlying conditions.

In addition to nurses and other health care providers, other professions that are at risk and would utilize the CISD tool include military officers, and teachers. Health sector professionals are the most affected since most affected people consider health professionals as the only hope for their life. Health care providers handle patients with varying conditions, such as those on end-of-life journey, victims of sexual assaults, accident victims, and those who have psychological disorders. Therefore, social work education and training in various fields are of great importance to healthcare providers to ensure excellent CISD process. Initially, the CISM tool was developed to be used with military combat veterans and later adopted by civilian first responders like police, firefighters, ambulance, and disaster rescuers. These professionals are essential in helping victims to virtually every situation that may have traumatic impacts on people. Teachers, on the other hand, handle students from different backgrounds and cultural disparities. Some students have had traumatizing events, which may adversely affect their concentration and learning activities. Therefore, teachers need proper training on the CISD process to help students in coping with various distressing situations, as well as avoid chances of developing other related health complications.

Generally, the use of CISD tool is vital in helping people decrease stress and cope with violence at the workplace. Violence has physical, cognitive, emotional, behavioral, and psychological impacts on the affected individuals. The impacts of violent events can seriously affect the productivity of employees; thus, necessitating the need to look for strategies to combat such events. The CISD tool is one of the most suitable strategies to help victims of traumatizing events to cope with the situations. Sharing the experiences and giving various approaching of handling distressing situations. Giving people a conducive environment to express themselves freely is essential in helping individuals coping up even with the most traumatizing events. For instance, having sexually assaulted workers share their experiences with those who have experienced similar distress. This gives them a chance to learn and cope up with the stress without developing other health complications.




Bressert, S. (2020). The Impacts of Stress. Retrieved from

Clark, P. R., Polivka, B., Zwart, M., & Sanders, R. (2019). Pediatric emergency department staff preferences for a critical incident stress debriefing. Journal of emergency nursing45(4), 403-410.

Pack, M. J. (2014). The role of managers in critical incident stress management programmes: A qualitative study of New Zealand social workers. Journal of Social Work Practice, 28(1), 43-57.

Schneiderman, N., Ironson, G., & Siegel, S. D. (2015). Stress and health: psychological, behavioral, and biological determinants. Annu. Rev. Clin. Psychol.1, 607-628.

Wuthnow, J., Elwell, S., Quillen, J. M., & Ciancaglione, N. (2016). Implementing an ED critical incident stress management team. Journal of Emergency Nursing42(6), 474-480.

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