Workplace Violence Towards Nurses at Private and Government Healthcare Settings of Karachi Pakistan

Friday, 25 July 2014: 3:30 PM

Rozina Somani Sr., BScN, MScN
Aga Khan University School of Nursing and Midwifery, Aga Khan Univerisity School of Nursing and Midwifry, Karachi, Pakistan

Purpose: , Workplace violence towards nurses is a worldwide problem. Among all healthcare workers, nurses are at a greater risk of being subjected to workplace violence. The present study identified the magnitude of the issue of violence towards nurses at the healthcare settings in Pakistan.This study aims to identify the prevalence and characteristics of physical and psychological violence which includes, verbal abuse, bullying/ mobbing behavior, and sexual violence experienced by nurses working in all the In-patient units and the Emergency Departments of two private and two government healthcare settings in Karachi, Pakistan.  This abstract will focus on the sexual harassment among nurses.  

Methods: This Cross-sectional study included 458 nurses from selected healthcare settings in Karachi, Pakistan. A simple random sampling method was used for the study. The instrument used for collecting the data was jointly developed by International Labour Office (ILO), International Council of Nurses (ICN), World Health Organization (WHO), and Public Services International (PSI).The primary investigator and the research assistant interviewed the participants to complete the study tool.  

Results: The present study found that workplace violence was prevalent among 82% of the nurses. The reported prevalence of sexual violence was 10%. It is likely that the mentioned prevalence of sexual abuse found in this study could be because of the negative image nurses have in the Pakistani society, the lack of training facilities for them to deal with sexual harassment, the lack of security measures taken to prevent sexual violence prevention, and a feeling of guilt associated with experience of sexual harassment. Female Nurses who fell in age group ranging between 19 and 29 years were mostly the victims of sexual violence. These nurses specifically belonged to the Medical Surgical units, and Emergency departments. Most of them were working in the shift duties. The most common perpetrators of sexual violence were found to be Patient’s relatives (47.8%), and the staff members (32.6%).  With regard to sexual abuse (69.6% n= 32/46) nurses had not taken any action or had pretended that the incident had never taken place. 74% nurses experienced psychological symptoms at moderate to extreme levels after being victims of sexual harassment.

Conclusion: This pioneer study is an attempt towards the implementation of one of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) goals, that is, a violence free healthcare environment. The study also put forward some evidence based recommendations; based on the findings, for the government, the nursing services, nursing educators, and for future research.