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Title: Violence against student nurses by patients and their relatives in public hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal
Authors: Majola, Bongi Angeline 
Issue Date: 2017
BACKGROUND: Quiet often when students return from clinical placement, complain of being abused by patients and their relatives. Student nurses view clinical placement as an anxiety producing part of the nursing programme (Magnavita and Heponiemi 2011: 208). As a result, some resign and leave nursing fearing for their lives.

AIM OF THE STUDY: To determine the extent and types of violence experienced by student nurses from patients and their relatives or friends in public hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal, and whether this leads to intentions to leave the nursing profession.

METHODOLOGY: A quantitative, descriptive cross sectional survey approach conducted amongst student nurses (n=421) at KwaZulu-Natal College Nursing R425 Program starting from their first year of training up to the midwifery module. Self-Administered Questionnaires (SAQ) were used to collect data and data analysed using SPSS version 23.

RESULTS: All respondents (n=421) completed the SAQ (annexure B). Many student nurses, especially female students, are victims of intimidation, bullying and verbal abuse as opposed to physical and sexual abuse by patients’ relatives and patients. The workplace violence against student nurses resulted in anger and absenteeism. The majority have not reported any abuse and they were not even aware of any policy that exists in their institutions against any form of violence.

DISCUSSION: Findings in this study revealed that student nurses, like all other nurses, were also at a high risk of workplace violence. This may be because nurses have the closest contact with patients and their relatives; hence they are at high risk of exposure to violence. Since all settings are potentially high risk for violence, it is therefore necessary for the management to improve security in all high-risk areas for the student nurses to be safe.

RECOMMENDATIONS: Public hospitals and the Department of Health (DOH) needs to formulate clear policies regarding violence against student nurses, and information on how to report the occurrence. There is a need for development or improvement of policies, procedures and intervention strategies. The DOH needs to address the issues of violence by implementing strategies to create a supportive environment that facilitates empowerment for the positive emotional wellbeing of student nurses.

Managers have the responsibility to create and maintain zero tolerance regarding workplace violence. Public hospitals need to employ Managers with required skills and higher education to deal with workplace violence. There is a need for further research and more details on workplace violence and its cause.
Submitted in fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Health Sciences (Nursing), Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa, 2017.
Appears in Collections:Theses and dissertations (Health Sciences)

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