Objective: to examine the frequency, possible associated factors & consequences of workplace violence towards doctors and nurses in a public healthcare facility in Lahore, thereby providing a basis for appropriate intervention.
Methodology: We conducted a retrospective exploratory cross sectional study in a public sector hospital in Lahore, employing self-administered questionnaire to collect data on various aspects of workplace violence against doctors and nurses, in 12 months preceding the study. The sample covered 164 respondents (response rate 65.6 %). Suggestions for restricting future violent incidents were also sought. The data was analyzed using the statistical package for the social sciences (SPSS) version 17.
Results: More than 2/3rd of the respondents (n=121/164, 73.8%) were the victims of violence in the preceding 12 months with verbal abuse (n=104/121, 86%) being the main aggression type encountered. Only 72/121 (59.5%) victims of violence reported the violence and majority of incidents (n=29/72, 40.3%) were reported to colleagues only. “No previous action” (73%) was the commonest reasons cited for not reporting the incidents. Workers exposed to violence & aggression, experienced high level of psychological distress. Most common assailants were patients’ relatives (n=86/121, 71%) followed by patient themselves (n=37/121, 30.5%). Overcrowding and lack of security were cited as the main reasons for such incidents.
Conclusion: Health care workers in public sector hospital setting in Lahore are frequently exposed to aggression and violence & it is associated with many adverse consequences including high level of stress. Appropriate preventive measures including occupational support are required to make hospitals safer environments.
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