Reporting of workplace violence towards nurses in 5 European countries – a cross-sectional study
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University of Bielsko-Biala, Bielsko-Biała, Poland (Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Nursing)
Slettebakken Menighets Eldresenter, Bergen, Norway
Comenius University in Bratislava, Bratislava, Slovak Republic (Jessenius Faculty of Medicine in Martin, Department of Nursing)
University of Ostrava, Ostrava, Czech Republic (Faculty of Medicine, Department of Nursing and Midwifery)
Namik Kemal University, Tekirdağ, Turkey (School of Health, Department of Nursing)
Universidad Católica de Valencia, Valencia, Spain (Faculty of Nursing)
Online publication date: 2020-03-26
Corresponding author
Beata Babiarczyk   

University of Bielsko-Biala, Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Nursing, Willowa 2, 43-309 Bielsko-Biała, Poland
Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2020;33(3):325-38
Objectives: This study aimed to assess country-specific evidence of physical and non-physical acts of workplace violence towards nurses working in the health sector in 5 European countries, and then to identify reasons for not reporting violence experienced at work. Material and Methods: This retrospective cross-sectional study was conducted in 5 participating countries (Poland, the Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic, Turkey, and Spain). All registered nurses working in selected healthcare settings for at least 1 year were invited to participate in the study. A questionnaire adapted from the Workplace Violence in the Health Sector Country Case Study – Questionnaire, developed jointly by the International Labour Office, the International Council of Nurses, the World Health Organization and Public Services International, was used. The selection of healthcare settings and the distribution of the questionnaire were conducted according to the recommendations of the questionnaire authors. Results: In total, 1089 nurses submitted completed questionnaires which could be included in the study. Of these, 54% stated that they had been exposed to non-physical violence and 20% had been exposed to physical violent acts. A total of 15% of the surveyed nurses experienced both forms of workplace violence. In addition, 18% of the respondents confirmed having witnessed physical violence in their workplace. The most common perpetrators were patients and patients’ relatives. In about 70% of these cases, no actions were taken after the act of violence to investigate its causes. About half of the study group did not report workplace violence as they believed it was useless or not important. The most common consequences of workplace violence included being “superalert” or watchful and on guard. Conclusions: Nurses internationally are both victims of and witnesses to workplace violence. Workplace violence is often seen by nurses as an occupational hazard and, as such, it remains not reported. The first step in preventing workplace violence is not only to acknowledge its existence but also to ensure the appropriate reporting of violent acts. Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2020;33(3):325–38
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