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Workplace assaults experienced by health care providers in public tertiary health institution in Southern Nigeria

OVIAWE Omoruyi Osamudiamena NWANERI Damian Uchechukwub OVIAWE Osawaruc
Department Of Accident &Emergencya Email: ; 07030754705 Institute of Child HealthbE-mail: ; 08139172309 Department Of Child HealthcE-mail: ; 08025816892 University Of Benin & University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City, Edo State. Nigeria.
Corresponding Author:; Tel: +234-8139172309, +234-8056321577
Recieved Date: 2017; Accepted Date: 2017; Published Date: 2017

Assault to healthcare providers is bound to lead to adverse consequences and may impinge unfavorably on service delivery and utilization. There could have been reports of assaults to healthcare providers while discharging their duties in the hospital, however, most of such reports were usually in the media making the burden fully unknown. The aim of the study was to identify prevalence of assaults experience by health workers, types of workplace assaults, reasons for workplace assaults and effect (if any) on healthcare providers. This was a cross-sectional study carried in between April to August 2016 in University of Benin Teaching Hospital Benin City. Study participants were healthcare providers such as medical doctors, nurses, pharmacists, para-medics and others who were on duty in the hospital at the time of recruitment. A self-administered questionnaire with 34-items was used to obtain data from the healthcare providers who were at their duty posts at the time of recruitment. Data was analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences version 16. The results showed that of the 373 health workers recruited, 247 (66.2%) had been assaulted; mean [ ± ] age was 35.7 ± 8.3 years. Half of the assaults were verbal alone, physical assault alone was 30 (12.1%), threat alone was 18 (7.3%). There was combination of verbal, physical and threat 136 (55.1%). Perpetrators were mainly the patients` sibling in 53 (21.5%) cases. Half of the assaults occurred in Accident/ Emergency (A&E) Unit; and was mainly during the afternoon shift (35.2%). Over half of the respondents 132 (55.2%) had been assaulted at least once in the preceeding 12 months. There was no significant difference in gender (p = 1.00), age (p = 0.070), and years of work experience (p = 0.061) of the respondents and assaults at work place. Most common reasons for assaults was long waiting time in attending to patients and most common impact was fear of the unknown at work place. Most observed effect of assaults to health workers was fear of the unknown at work (52.0%) and loss of zeal to work (48.0%). In conclusion, workplace assault was common in this study locale and was observed to occur irrespective of gender, age and years of work experience of the healthcare provider. Improvement on patients` waiting time may reduce the incidence of workplace assaults in hospitals.

Keywords: assault, health workers, hospital, workplace
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