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Keywords:

  • Consequences;
  • Factors;
  • Nurses in Turkey;
  • Sources;
  • Verbal and Physical Abuse

Aim:  This study of verbal and physical abuse against nurses in Turkey aimed to describe prevalence, sources, important effects on work, family and social life of the nurses, coping methods and factors.

Methods:  A sample of 622 nurses working in eight hospitals located in the capital city of Turkey was surveyed using verbal and physical abuse questionnaires.

Results:  The prevalence of verbal and physical abuse against nurses in the sample of this study were found to be as 91.1% and 33.0% respectively. Colleagues were found to be the most important source of verbally abusive behaviours while patients and patients’ relatives were the important sources of physically abusive behaviours. Disturbed mental health, decreased job performance and headache were the more frequently reported negative effects of verbal and physical abuses on nurses. The most common reactions against abusive behaviours were anger, helplessness, humiliation and depression. It is interesting to find that ‘did nothing’ was the most reported coping method with verbal abuse. The findings also suggested that working in inpatient units and increasing work experience in the nursing profession were statistically significant variables increasing the likelihood of being abused physically.

Discussion:  All the results on sources, negative effects, feelings and coping methods on verbally and physically abusive behaviours lead us to discuss that lower working status and power of the nurses at the work, poor working conditions in healthcare settings and insufficient administrative mechanisms as well as law and regulations against the abusers are the important factors forcing the nurses to work in an inappropriate work environment in Turkey.