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Violence towards mental health nurses - Research Paper Example

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Violence towards mental health nurses

In fact, the Australian Institute of Criminology has identified the health industry to be the most violent industry in the country, with registered nurses (RNs) recording the second highest number of violence-related workers compensation claims in year 1995 and 1996, ranking even higher than prison and police officers (Deans, 2004, p. 14). Patient violence on mental health care professionals not only leads to staff sickness and absenteeism but also to various psychological and mental distresses. Specific psychological problems include depression, anxiety, isolation, trauma (LeFlore & Bell, 2007, p. 147), post-traumatic stress disorders, loss of confidence, anger, fear, loss, distrust, and guilt (Whittington & Wykes, 1992; Doughty, 2005, p. 1). Understandably, these problems would adversely affect the therapeutic alliance between patients and HCPs (Watts & Morgan, 1994, p. 14; LeFlore & Bell, 2007, p. 147). In addition, this will also prevent optimal staff recruiting and retention of employees within the hospital (Doughty, 2005, p. 1). In a survey conducted by Duxbury & Whittington (2005, p. 469) on 80 mentally ill patients and 82 HCPs in three inpatient mental healthcare wards, it was found that that the patients regarded the poor facilities and communication as the two significant factors behind violence, whereas the nurses identified that the patients’ mental illness was the root cause for the violence. On the other hand, according to Glick and Fishkind (2008, p.117), the risk of violence in psychiatric care facilities include lower staff-to-patient ratio, higher percentage of female HCPs, and presence of staff without specific training in psychiatry or agression. The United States Department of Labor (2004, p. 7) also recognizes the lack of staff training as partly causing hostile and assaultive behavior of patients. Currently, the intervention strategies used to curb violence include stress management, rehabilitation of staff victims and providing them a work environment that is not conducive to violent behavior (Warshaw & Messite, 1996, p. 993). Stathopoulou (2003, p. 4) suggested that the preventive measures on violence towards health care professionals should focus on three areas: hospital organization, arrangement of the physical environment, and staff training and development. Significance of the study With the increasing number of psychiatric patients, the potential for occupational violence for HCPs in psychiatric facilities is on the rise as well. The adverse effects of these incidents on work performance and retention of employees make it imperative for health institutions to provide effective means to prevent and manage aggression from psychiatric patients. Theoretical framework for the research methodology Figure 1. Theoretical framework for this research study This research proposal predicts that providing appropriate knowledge regarding the management and prevention of violent behavior from psychiatric patients through training equips the HCPs the ability to protect themselves from the potential physical and psychological effects of aggressive behavior from their patients, and subsequently allows them to perform to the best of their abilities. Ultimately, the health institutions with trained HCPs benefit from increased work performance ...Show more

Summary

Introduction In Australia, mental health care has assumed a greater significance in the health care industry as the number of people with mental disorders is increasing day by day. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (2007, p. 7), in its National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing, has identified that one in five Australians is likely to experience mental illness in any year…
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