Changes in prevalence of workplace violence against doctors

Changes in prevalence of workplace violence against doctors

A repeated cross-sectional survey in all medical specialties in Norway between 1993 and 2014 shows that a substantial proportion of doctors experience threats and real acts of violence during their work-time career (Johansen IH, Baste V, Rosta J, Aasland OG, Morken T. BMJ Open 2017 Aug 11; 7 (8): e017757).

– There was no evidence that workplace violence has increased over the last two decades, concludes LEFO's senior researchers Judith Rosta and Olaf Gjerløw Aasland, who did the study in collaboration with their colleauges from National Centre for Emergency Primary Health Care – a part of Uni Research Health.        

The peer reviewed article is in English and was published online 11 August 2017, doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-017757.

Abstract in PubMed:
Objectives: The aim of this study was to investigate whether reported prevalence of experienced threats, real acts of violence and debilitating fear of violence among Norwegian doctors have increased over the last two decades.
DESIGN: Repeated cross-sectional survey.
SETTING: All healthcare levels and medical specialties in Norway.
PARTICIPANTS: Representative samples of Norwegian doctors in 1993 (n=2628) and 2014 (n=1158).
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Relative risk (RR) of self-reported prevalence of work-time experiences of threats and real acts of violence, and of being physically or psychologically unfit during the last 12 months due to fear of violence, in 2014 compared with 1993, adjusted by age, gender and medical specialty.
RESULTS: There were no differences in self-reported threats (adjusted RR=1.01, 95% CI 0.95 to 1.08) or real acts (adjusted RR=0.90, 95% CI 0.80 to 1.03) of violence when comparing 2014 with 1993. The proportion of doctors who had felt unfit due to fear of violence decreased from 1993 to 2014 (adjusted RR=0.53, 95% CI 0.39 to 0.73). Although still above average, the proportion of doctors in psychiatry who reported real acts of violence decreased substantially from 1993 to 2014 (adjusted RR=0.75, 95% CI 0.60 to 0.95).
CONCLUSIONS: A substantial proportion of doctors experience threats and real acts of violence during their work-time career, but there was no evidence that workplace violence has increased over the last two decades. Still, the issue needs to be addressed as part of the doctors' education and within work settings.

Read the article in full text version here
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