As violent behaviour is more often associated with male patients with acute mental illness, little information is available on the experiences of nurses of violent behaviour of female patients. The objective of the study was thus to describe their experiences. A qualitative, descriptive and contextual study was conducted in a tertiary level psychiatric hospital. The target population was registered psychiatric nurses working in wards with patients presenting with acute illness. Purposive sampling was done and data collected through unstructured interviews with 10 nurses. Five themes were identified namely: nurses associate care of acutely ill patients with being exposed to violence, experience emotional turmoil, experience poor relationships with patients, distrusting patients and nursing management and appreciate the learning experiences. Support of nurses by nursing management is required before they are placed in acute wards, after experiencing or witnessing violence and continuously past their confrontation with violence.