Violence to staff in a general hospital setting

Authors

  • Richard Whittington RMN PhD CPsychol,

    Corresponding author
    1. Senior Lecturer, Department of Health and Community Studies, University College Chester
      Dr R Whittington Senior Lecturer Department of Health and Community Studies University College Chester, Cheyney Road Chester CH1 4BJ, England e mail r.whittington@chestor.ac.uk
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  • Stewart Shuttleworth cclin Psychol,

    1. Principal Psychologist, Chester and Ellesmere Port Psychology Service
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  • Lynda Hill BSc MSc

    1. Scientific Officer Chester and Ellesmere Port Psychology Service, West Cheshire NHS Trust, Countess of Chester Health Park, Chester, England
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Dr R Whittington Senior Lecturer Department of Health and Community Studies University College Chester, Cheyney Road Chester CH1 4BJ, England e mail r.whittington@chestor.ac.uk

Abstract

The problem of aggression to staff in a general hospital was examined from the perspective of Poyner & Warne's (1986) model of workplace violence A total of 396 staff (39% response rate) provided information on their experience of violence in the past year and a subsample were additionally interviewed about their current levels of mental health (GHQ) Some 72 staff (21% of respondents) had been physically assaulted and 90% of these assaulted staff worked beyond the accident and emergency department, e g in medical wards Nurses were physically assaulted, threatened and verbally abused at higher rates than other professionals Employee factors (younger age, shorter National Health Service experience and attendance at violence training) were significantly associated with assault (P < 0 05) Postoperative confusion, receiving treatment and delayed treatment were common precursors of aggression Mental health was significantly worse amongst staff exposed to threats (P < 0 01) This exploratory study establishes that violence is a problem across a number of general hospital departments and occupations and we argue that effective training should be made more available for staff at risk of assault

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