Interpersonal Verbal and Physical Abuse Against Female Nurses and Doctors in Karachi, Pakistan

Monday, 30 October 2017: 2:45 PM

Azmat Jehan Khan, MScN, BScN, RM, RN
School of Nursing and midwifery., The Aga Khan University School of Nursing and Midwifery, Karachi, Pakistan

Background: Verbal and physical abuse is a global social and criminal issue against women.

Objective: To estimate the prevalence of interpersonal verbal and physical abuse among married female nurses and doctors working in the tertiary care hospitals in Karachi, Pakistan.

Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted among 350 married female from nurses and doctors, who were recruited from three tertiary care hospitals (one public and two private). This study used the self administered “WHO Multi-country Study on Women’s Health and Life Experiences” (2005) tool, after some modifications. Descriptive and univariate analysis was performed to arrive at results.

Results: Descriptive statistic showed that 97.7% (n= 342) of the study participants reported one or more forms of violence at some point in their married life, and verbal abuse was the most common form (n=332, 97.1%) and 94.6% (n=193) were victims of physical abuse. Participants’ husbands who had completed their high school (n=80, 39.9%) and graduation (n=81, 39.4%) were more common perpetrators of physical abuse. In univariate analysis, there was a significant difference of those who used and do not use alcohol created verbal (p=0.005) and those husbands who used substance abuse creates physical abuse (p=0.015). The most common responses of verbal and physical abuse are fought back and remain quiet. The main reason for using silence was fear of escalating the violence. This study has identified that verbal and physical abuses are highly prevalent among nurses and doctors.

Conclusion: Our study identified that verbal and physical violence is highly prevalent among healthcare providers’ nurses and doctors. The main perpetrators are husband. In the response of violence health professional either try to fight back or remain quite. The reasons of being quite are due to fear of escalating violence. Many respondents also reported helplessness in the control abuse from husbands and in-laws. Socio-demographic factors were related to physical and verbal abuse. Legal action against domestic violence should be strengthened and strictly implemented not only for housewives but also for working women. Being healthcare providers we need to advocate through print and electronic media, to support the work in progress for passing and implementing the law against domestic violence.