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Australian University study throws light on abuse suffered by emergency nurses - News - Nurses Arena Forum

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Australian University study throws light on abuse suffered by emergency nurses by Idowu Olabode : September 07, 2016, 08:16:10 AM
Half of Queensland's emergency department nurses are copping abuse from patients outside of the workplace, a new study has found.

The Central Queensland University study asked health workers if they had been abused in the workplace, but also if they had experienced the same kind of violence in the community.


Nurse Rachael Dixon says every nurse has their own horror stories.


It has been a familiar story for emergency department nurse Rachael Dixon.

"I was at a local pub one night just having a couple of drinks and a gentlemen who I didn't even remember had come up to me and [used] all the profanities under the sun... [he said] 'You're that nurse' — and I just froze," she said.

"In a hospital setting, you know you have security, but out in public you know that you don't."

Ms Dixon said every nurse has had the same kind of horror stories.


Jacqueline Ingram is hoping more nurses will take part in the violence study.


"There's been two occasions where I have had someone threaten to find where I live and kill me in my sleep," she said.

"Although they're only words, they do stick in the back of your mind.

"You are walking to your car at 11 o'clock at night, or two in the morning, you are getting home in the dark, and you just never really know how far someone is willing to take it."

Ms Dixon hopes the study raises awareness that abuse from patients does not just happen in the workplace.

"I don't think people understand the severity of the situation," she said.

"They come into the emergency department and they see a person going off and they go, 'oh, that must be a bad day'.

"It's every day. It's every day that we're dealing with it, and it is scary."

The research is being undertaken by emergency department nurse and PhD candidate, Jacqueline Ingram.

"We ask simply, how frequently in the last 12 months or then in their career, they've been verbally abused, threatened, or physically assaulted at work and also in the community," she said.

"But then we also ask about how many times in the last 12 months or in their career they've been fearful of a patient at work or in the community.

"From the results that we're obtaining, 50 per cent of participants have been verbally abused, threatened, or physically assaulted outside of work when they are off duty, by a patient," she said.

The research is due to be finished later this year, and it is hoped it will shine a light on the dangers faced by nurses.

"The issue is that at the moment the abuse of nurses outside of work is not recognised," Ms Ingram said.

"If we could increase the formal reporting of this abuse and assault by patients outside of work, it would put us in a much better position to address the problem.

"Because at the moment we don't know how big the problem is."

Source : ABC News

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