Alumni Impumelelo 4

Prof Marie Poggenpoel: High risk of violence and aggression among health professionals

Being a psychiatric nurse in South African hospitals is not only extremely stressful, but many also have to deal with violence and aggression – from patients and colleagues – on a daily basis. This has an overt psychological effect on nurses, leaving them feeling uncertain and bewildered and this often leads to absenteeism and even burnout. Because the nurses stand between medicine, psychiatry and the law, the best actions may not be clear, and guidelines neither consistently applicable nor explicit. Psychiatric nurses, in particular, run a high risk of being exposed to aggression. They experience aggression from patients as well as colleagues, leaving them open to noticeable negative psychological effects In a new study, researchers from the Department of Nursing Sciences within the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), found that in a working environment with dysfunctional nurse-to- nurse relationships, stress and aggression in the work environment compromise factors such as low productivity owing to conflicts, recruitment and retention THE PSYCHIATRIC NURSES REPORTED THAT DIFFERENT TYPES OF AGGRESSION WERE PRESENT IN THEIR WORK ENVIRONMENT, NAMELY VERBAL AND NON- VERBAL AGGRESSION.

Prof Marie Poggenpoel

challenges, burnout, absenteeism, litigation and rapid staff turnover. The study was published in the Journal of interdisciplinary Health Sciences. To assess the extent of this contextual study, the population for this research consisted of psychiatric nursing staff registered with the South African Nursing Council who were employed in an academic psychiatric hospital in Johannesburg. The researchers used purposive

professional nurses who were working in an academic psychiatric hospital where the research was conducted and who had been working there uninterruptedly for a minimum period of 24 months. The psychiatric nurses needed experience in an academic psychiatric hospital to give a valid account of their experiences and to be familiar with the environment in which they work. They had to be able to speak English or Afrikaans. The UJ team found that the psychiatric nurses experienced aggression as subtle, passive and harmful in a verbal and non- verbal manner. The psychiatric nurses reported that different types of aggression were present in their work

sampling, which is a non- probability sample that is

selected based on characteristics of a population and the objective of the study. The criteria for sampling were as follows: Participants were



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