The NHS Security Management Service (NHS SMS) has issued new guidance aiming to minimise the risks nurses are exposed to when dealing with violent patients who have long-term care needs.
The nine-point plan has been designed to help nurses pinpoint potentially violent patients.
It also provides advice for practice managers and nursing staff as to what measures they should take once such a patient has been identified.
It suggests some violent patients should only receive treatment in a secure environment, and also urges nurses to seek police assistance if they are worried about the dangers they may face.
Richard Hampton, head of NHS SMS, said: "The nine-point plan is the first stage in what is comprehensive guidance for protecting nurses.
"NHS trusts should look at a full range of measures. For example, every NHS trust needs to train its nurses in conflict resolution. If appropriate, prosecuting violent offenders should not be discounted either.
"It is also important to instil a culture of reporting and intolerance to violence throughout the NHS.
"If nurses view violence as part of the job, lessons cannot be learnt, measures cannot be implemented to better protect them, and violent offenders will go unpunished.
"Through its comprehensive strategy to tackle violence and abuse, the NHS SMS is determined to better protect nurses across the health service."