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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 15-22

Prevalence and patterns of psychological and physical violence among nurses in a public tertiary health facility in Enugu, southeast Nigeria

1 Department of Community Medicine, Enugu State University College of Medicine, Enugu, Nigeria
2 Department of Community Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria Enugu Campus, Nsukka, Nigeria
3 Department of Community Medicine, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Ituku-Ozalla, Enugu State, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Olanike Rebecca Agwu-Umahi
Department of Community Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria Enugu Campus, Nsukka, Enugu State
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/IJAMR.IJAMR_143_19

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Background: Workplace violence (WPV) is a significant and persistent occupational health hazard and constitutes a major concern for employers and employees. While there is increasing evidence on the prevalence of WPV in the health-care settings, nurses have been shown to be disproportionately affected. Although widely researched globally, there is scarcity of data on this phenomenon in Nigeria. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of physical and psychological violence among nurses in a tertiary health institution. Subjects and Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional study using a questionnaire adapted from WPV in the Health Sector Country Case Study Questionnaire. This study was carried out among nurses at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital Enugu, Southeast Nigeria. Proportionate sampling method was used to select 301 respondents. Results: Majority (219, 72.2%) of the participants were aged above 35 years, were female (283, 94%) and were married (249, 82.7%). About half (152, 50.5%) of the respondents had spent 10 years or more in practice. Verbal abuse was the most prevalent form of psychological violence experienced (129, 42.9%) followed by bullying/mobbing (21, 7.0%) while sexual abuse was reported by a few (7, 2.3%). Physical violence, on the other hand, was experienced by 46 (15.3%). Majority of the physical violence was carried out with a weapon (39, 84.8%) and in most of the cases the attacker was patient's relative (35, 76%). Patients' relatives were mostly responsible for the verbal abuse (78, 60.5%) and bullying (10, 47.6%) while sexual assault was mostly carried out by a coworker (4, 57.1%). Conclusion: Psychological violence was commonly experienced by nurses in Enugu and physical violence was often carried out with a weapon. Policies should put in place to ensure safety of nurses.

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