Jakobsson J, Örmon K, Axelsson M, Berthelsen H
BMC Nurs 22 (1) 106 [2023-04-07; online 2023-04-07]
Workplace violence is a global threat to healthcare professionals' occupational health and safety and the situation has worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study aimed to explore workplace violence directed against assistant and registered nurses working on surgical wards in Sweden. This cross-sectional study was conducted in April 2022. Using a convenience sampling procedure, 198 assistant and registered nurses responded to an online questionnaire developed for this specific study. The questionnaire comprised 52 items and included, among other items, subscales from validated and previously used instruments. Data analysis included descriptive statistics, the chi-square test, and independent-samples t-test. The most frequently reported type of workplace violence was humiliation (28.8%), followed by physical violence (24.2%), threats (17.7%), and unwanted sexual attention (12.1%). Patients and patients' visitors were reported as the main perpetrators of all kinds of exposure. Additionally, one third of the respondents had experienced humiliation from colleagues. Both threats and humiliation showed negative associations with work motivation and health (p < 0.05). Respondents classified as working in a high- or moderate-risk environment were more frequently exposed to threats (p = 0.025) and humiliation (p = 0.003). Meanwhile, half of the respondents were unaware of any action plans or training regarding workplace violence. However, of those who indicated that they had been exposed to workplace violence, the majority had received quite a lot or a lot of support, mainly from colleagues (range 70.8-80.8%). Despite a high prevalence of workplace violence, and especially of humiliating acts, there appeared to be low preparedness within the hospital organizations to prevent and/or handle such incidents. To improve these conditions, hospital organizations should place more emphasis on preventive measures as part of their systematic work environment management. To help inform such initiatives, it is suggested that future research should focus on the identification of suitable measures regarding different types of incidents, perpetrators, and settings.