Trends in workplace violence in the remote area nursing workforce

Sue Lenthall, Sabina Knight, Sandra Dunn, Greg Rickard, Tessa Opie, Martha Macleod, Maureen Dollard, John Wakerman

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Objective: To assess incidence of workplace violence in the remote area nursing workforce and to compare present data to data collected 13 years previously. Design: The research adopted a cross-sectional design, using a structured questionnaire. Setting: Health centres in very remote Australia. Subjects: 349 nurses working in very remote regions across Australia. Main Outcome Measure: The main outcome measure was posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, as assessed using the PTSD Checklist (PCL). Results: Findings indicate increases in all incidents of reported violence in the workplace between 1995 and 2008. Verbal aggression, property damage and physical violence are the most frequently experienced forms of violence as perpetrated directly towards remote area nurses, with statistically significant positive correlations between all types of workplace violence and PTSD symptoms. Verbal aggression, physical violence and property damage are the most commonly witnessed forms of violence occurring between other people. Statistically significant positive correlations were also found between each type of witnessed violence and PTSD symptoms, excluding sexual abuse/assault. Nurses working in very remote regions in Australia are fearful for their personal safety. Conclusion: Working in fear for your personal safety can function as a major occupational stressor. The research has implications for the implementation of workplace policies that target the identification, management and prevention of violence in the remote area nursing workforce.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)18-23
    Number of pages6
    JournalAustralian Journal of Advanced Nursing
    Volume27
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2010

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