Patients as Perpetrators: Nurses as Survivors of Sexual Violence
Griffith University's Centre for Work, Organisation and Wellbeing, 'Winds of Change? Shifting Policies and Actions on Gender Equality: Recent Research,' October 2012
Posted: 18 Nov 2012
Date Written: October 26, 2012
Hospitals are required by law to protect nurses from sexual violence. The recently enacted Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld) s 19 requires persons in control of business and undertakings to ensure the safety and health of workers so far as is reasonably practicable. Failing to protect staff against violence can have serious consequences.
Nurses work with patients with dangerous mental conditions, patients who are under emotional, physical and drug educed stress. Research has demonstrated that nurses suffer substantial workplace violence and the perpetrators include patients. One survey has shown that nurses did not bother filling out incident reports as they believed management would not be responsive to complaints and an analysis of formal incident reports showed most involved little or no management action. This project seeks to: 1. Establish the prevalence and nature of sexual violence against nurses; 2. Determine how nurses and hospital management respond to instances of sexual violence against nurses perpetrated by patients; 3. Determine the extent to which current practice complies with existing laws; 4. Where appropriate, propose strategies to protect nurses from sexual violence perpetrated by patients.
Keywords: Occupational health and safety, violence, nurses, discrimination
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