Four in Five Nurses Experienced Violence in Past 6 Months: Report

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Joint research by the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association and the University of Technology Sydney, led by Chief Investigator Dr Jacqui Pich, has uncovered terrifying statistics on the levels of violence experienced by nurses and midwives on a daily basis.

The Violence in Nursing and Midwifery in NSW study report reveals disturbing levels of abuse, violence and assaults levelled at health staff. With a sample size of 3612 participants, the study on workplace violence in health is one of the largest of its kind in both Australia and the world.

Most notably, the research study found that:

  • 80% of participants had experienced violence in the six months prior to completing the survey;
  • More than half of participants working in all clinical areas had experienced violence;
  • The rates of violence were highest for those working in the specialities of emergency, drug and alcohol, and mental health;
  • 82% of nurses working in the public health sector had experienced violence in the past six months, as compared to 68% of private health nurses;
  • There was a reported injury rate of 28% as a result of an episode of violence, with psychological injuries being the most common type reported.
Psychological injuries were the most common type of injury reported to occur after a violent incident.

The survey also found that nurses and midwives were selective in reporting of episodes of violence, with many finding the reporting mechanisms overly inhibitive.

The report makes 7 recommendations to the NSW Government, aimed at reducing the incidences of violence and abuse in health. These recommendations range from a review of strategies to prevent violence, to punitive measures against employers who fail to adequately protect nurses and midwives.

It’s clear that more must be done to prevent nursing and midwifery staff from being subject to violence at work. As one surveyed nurse noted, “too many good nurses are being harmed and no one seems to care”. It’s time for real action to end violence against nurses and midwives.

You can read the Violence in Nursing and Midwifery in NSW: Study Report here.

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