Health Care Workers' Experiences of Aggression
To identify the prevalence of patient aggression against health care workers, the consequences and coping mechanisms.Design:
Retrospective cross-sectional design.Subjects:
50 participants comprised 37 nurses, 1 ward staff, 12 allied health staff employed in two brain injury wards with experience ranging from 3 months to 34 years.Setting:
Neurosciences and Brain Injury Rehabilitation wards of a metropolitan tertiary hospital in Brisbane.Main Outcome Measures:
Researcher designed self-report questionnaire.Results:
98% of respondents had experienced aggression during their health care careers with an average of 143.93 events. Physical injuries had been sustained by 40% of staff, psychological injury by 82%, but only 12% sought treatment. Verbal aggression related to receiving a psychological injury (r = 0.305, p < 0.05). Experiencing one type of aggression made it more likely the person would also experience the other types of aggression. Verbal aggression was correlated with physical aggression (r = 0.429, p < 0.01) and non-verbal aggression (r = 0.286, p < 0.05), and physical aggression was correlated with non-verbal aggression (r = 0.333, p < 0.05). The majority of staff used informal debriefing with others as their main coping strategy which was considered effective.Conclusions:
Patient aggression is prevalent and of serious concern for staff working in hospital settings.