Hong Kong Med J 2006;12:6-9 | Number 1, February 2006
Prevalence of workplace violence against nurses in Hong Kong
RPW Kwok, YK Law, KE Li, YC Ng, MH Cheung, VKP Fung, KTT Kwok, JMK Tong, PF Yen, WC Leung
Faculty of Medicine, University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong
OBJECTIVES. To determine the prevalence and nature of workplace violence against nurses, and how nurses deal with such aggression; and to identify the risk factors related to violence in the hospital environment.
DESIGN. Cross-sectional questionnaire study.
SETTING. University teaching hospital, Hong Kong.
PARTICIPANTS. All nursing staff in the hospital, except nurses who were unable to read Chinese or who did not have patient contact (eg those worked in administrative positions), were invited to complete a questionnaire.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES. Demographic data of the respondents, incidence of and risk factors contributing to workplace violence.
RESULTS. A total of 420 nurses returned the completed questionnaire (response rate, 25%). Three hundred and twenty (76%; 95% confidence interval, 72-80%) nurses reported abuse of any kind—verbal abuse, 73%; bullying, 45%; physical abuse, 18%; and sexual harassment, 12%. Most (82%) nurses who experienced verbal abuse tended to confide in friends, family members, or colleagues. Some (42%) ignored the incident. Risk factors for workplace violence included: working in male wards and in certain specialties such as the Accident and Emergency Department, Community Nursing Service, and the Orthopaedics and Traumatology Department.
CONCLUSION. Workplace violence against nurses is a significant problem in Hong Kong. Further large-scale studies should be conducted to more closely examine the problem.
Key words: Nursing staff, hospital; Occupational health; Questionnaires; Violence; Workplace
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