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Staff Training and Prevention of Violence in mental Health Care Units - Research Paper Example

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The literature review of the paper focuses on those studies that establish a relationship between staff training and the management or prevention of violence in psychiatric and mental health care units. A case study, questionnaires and direct interviews will be made use of in the research methodology…
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Staff Training and Prevention of Violence in mental Health Care Units
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Staff Training and Prevention of Violence in mental Health Care Units

This research will begin with the statement that the growing number of violence in the health care industry has evoked a variety of responses and those health care professionals who work in mental health care units are most vulnerable to workplace violence. There are a large number of studies that focus on the physical assault or verbal violence shown towards mental healthcare workers including nurses, physicians, psychologists and social workers. These studies emphasize the growing need to implement effective strategies to prevent and manage violence and aggression in the mental healthcare setting. While there have been many strategies implemented to manage and prevent violence in the mental health care units, the significance of effective staff education and training has been stressed by many researchers. However, there have not been many authentic studies that unearthed how far staff training contributes to the prevention of violence in the mental health care industry. In this respect, the U.S. Department of Labor identifies “lack of staff training in recognizing and managing escalating hostile and assaultive behavior” as a crippling factor in preventing violence in acute health care units. There are also studies that have highlighted the need to offer staff in-service training to the mental health care professionals. The growing statistics on violence towards the health care professionals in mental and psychiatric units is quite alarming and shocking. In this respect, Adams and Whittington (1995) conducted a remarkable study among a sample group of hospital based nurses and community mental health nurses. The results of the study showed that 29% of the target population experienced verbal aggression over a 10 week period; 44% of the incidents involved threats and the rest consisted of abuses (Adams & Whittington, 1995, p. 171). These shocking statistics point towards the need to offer timely staff training to the mental health care professionals. Duxbury and Whittington (2005) have successfully brought out the staff and patient perspectives on violence in mental and psychiatric health care units. The researchers undertook a survey among a sample of 80 patients and 82 health care professionals (3 ward managers, 10 charge nurses, 35 staff nurses and 32 nursing assistants) from three inpatient mental healthcare wards. The mental illnesses of the patients varied from chronic schizophrenia to depressive disorders. The results of the study showed that the patients regarded ‘environmental conditions and poor communication’ as the two significant factors behind aggressive behavior whereas the nurses identified that the patients’ mental illness was the root cause for the violence; however, both the groups were thoroughly dissatisfied with the ‘restrictive and under-resourced provision that leads to interpersonal tensions’ (Duxbury & Whittington, 2005, p. 469). The study also showed that both the patients as well as the nurses were also dissatisfied with the way violence and aggression has been managed. The researchers identified staff training in the use of fundamental therapeutic communication skills as the potential solution to this interpersonal tension. The adverse effects of patient violence on the mental health care workers are many and varied. Patient violence on mental health care professionals not only leads to staff sickness and absenteeism but also to various psychological and mental distresses. Whatever may be the underlying causes for violence, “a major consequence for individuals affected directly or indirectly by violence is often psychological pain, whether depression, anxiety, isolation, trauma or other reactions ... Read More
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