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Violence in mental health care: the experiences of mental health nurses and psychiatrists

Authors


Peter Nolan School of Health Sciences, The Medical School, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, England.

Abstract

Violence in mental health care: the experiences of mental health nurses and psychiatrists

Violence against mental health service personnel is a serious workplace problem and one that appears to be increasing. This study aimed to ascertain the extent and nature of violence against mental health nurses and psychiatrists, and to identify what support, if any, they received following exposure to violence. Mental health staff working within five West Midlands Trusts in the United Kingdom were surveyed using a postal questionnaire to investigate the extent and nature of violence they encountered in their daily work. There was an overall response rate of 47%, which included a response rate for psychiatrists of 60% (n=74) and for mental health nurses of 45% (n=301). Though both groups experienced violence at work, nurses were found: to have been exposed to violence significantly more during their career; to have been a victim of violence within the previous 12 months of the survey; and to have suffered a violent incident involving physical contact. Whilst a higher proportion of nurses than psychiatrists received some support following a violent incident, a large proportion of both groups did not receive any, although most felt in need of it. The implications of this study for training and management are discussed.

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