Psychosocial and ergonomic stressors, including physical and verbal abuse, were explored in nurses' aides working for nursing homes. Seven nursing homes in the Ann Arbor, Michigan area were sampled for this study. A multifaceted approach was developed to reveal incidents of violence and abuse performed by patients against health care workers. This method included an interview with the directors of nursing, nurses' aide focus group meetings, and observations of workers. All focus groups listed physical abuse from patients as an occupational stressor. Three of the seven focus groups indicated that verbal and physical abuse from patients were psychosocial stressors. The author concludes that attention should be directed towards reducing abuse of nurses' aides. Factors related to patients' abusive behaviors should be evaluated, and mechanisms for reducing these behaviors should be implemented. Finally, nurses' aides should have adequate training in dealing with abusive patients.