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Workplace Violence in Emergency Departments in Turkey
Background Studies on workplace violence against physicians in emergency departments (EDs) in Turkey are lacking.
Methods To describe the frequency and types of workplace violence, a 34-question online survey of the past 12 months was sent to physicians working in EDs in Turkey. Types of violence were categorized as verbal threats, physical assaults, confrontation, stalking, and sexual harassment.
Results A total of 366 physicians completed the survey; 4 were excluded (minimum 20 hours/week). Sixty-two percent of respondents were men. Ninety-nine percent reported verbal abuse and 54% reported physical violence. Family members, not patients, were the most common perpetrators of every form of workplace violence. Hospitals limiting the number of visitors and loitering had 14% reduction in physical threats. Only 23% of respondents indicated that their hospital offered information about preventing and managing workplace violence even though 86% noted interest. Only 1% never had fear, even though 89% indicated they had security staff. Over 89% felt that hospital security was lacking in number and ability to protect. For 82%, workplace violence affected their ability to provide patient care. Ninety percent indicated that current laws do not adequately protect them. There was also no statistically significant difference in any type of workplace violence based on the timing or length of shifts, type of hospital, or number of hours worked. Of all types of violence reported, only stalking demonstrated a statistically significant difference between men and women.
Conclusion Workplace violence is a real danger for physicians working in EDs in Turkey, similar to other countries, demonstrating that this problem transcends borders. Further studies should assess root causes of violent behaviors of patients and their visitors, as well as possible (administrative, social, and legal) mechanisms to minimize such violence. Hospitals that limited the number of visitors and empowered security officers were associated with decreased violence.
13 August 2021 (online)
© 2021. Syrian American Medical Society. This is an open access article published by Thieme under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonDerivative-NonCommercial-License, permitting copying and reproduction so long as the original work is given appropriate credit. Contents may not be used for commercial purposes, or adapted, remixed, transformed or built upon. (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
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