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Operating room nurses' perceptions of the effects of physician-perpetrated abuse

Authors


Barbara L. Higgins, 2797 Route 845, Carters Point, NB, E5S 1S9, Canada; Tel: 506-648-7445, Fax: 506-648-6799; E-mail: higbl@nbnet.nb.ca.

Abstract

HIGGINS B.L. & MACINTOSH J. (2010) Operating room nurses' perceptions of the effects of physician-perpetrated abuse. International Nursing Review57, 321–327

Background:  Operating room (OR) nurses experience abuse perpetrated by physicians; however, little research has been conducted to examine nurses' perceptions of the effects of such abuse.

Aims:  The aim of this research was to understand participants' perceptions of physician-perpetrated abuse on their health and ability to provide patient care.

Materials/Methods:  In this qualitative descriptive study, ten operating room nurses working in Eastern Canada participated in open-ended, individual audiotaped interviews that were transcribed for analysis using Boyatzis' method for code development.

Results:  Three categories of factors contributing to abuse were developed. The first, culture of the OR, included environment and hierarchy. The second, catalysts of abuse, included nurses' positions and experience as well as non-nurse factors such as resources and interpersonal relationships among physicians. The third category, perceived effects, included psychological, physical and social health consequences for nurses. Effects on patient care consisted of safety and potential challenges to access.

Discussion:  Nursing practice implications included mentoring, support and accountability for action. Educational implications related to interdisciplinary education and increased education on communication, assertiveness, and awareness of abuse. Implications for research included studying perceptions of other health-care providers including physicians, studying recruitment and retention in relation to abuse, and studying other abuse in health care such as horizontal violence.

Conclusion:  We suggest a proactive approach for empowering OR nurses to address abuse and an increased focus on interdisciplinary roles.

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