Violence Against Nurses & Health Care Professionals In Nigeria – Taking Practical Steps|2-minutes read| Udok, Ubong C |

Care City Editorial

Violence Against Nurses & Health Care Professionals In Nigeria – Taking Practical Steps.
Udok, Ubong C, Rn, Rpn, Rctn.
Edited by Ayinla Daniel, RN

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Photo Credit: Getty Images

lately, in Nigeria there has been an increase in workplace violence directed at nurses who are busy carrying out their professional duties, trying their very best to Nurse the sick back to health.

This maltreatment has not only been experienced by Registered Nurses, but Physicians and other health care professionals have also had their own share of this ill-treatment, meted out to them by angry patients and furious relatives who are oblivious to the fact that these health care professionals are fragile human beings like they are.

This article, written by a concerned Registered Nurse in Nigeria, seeks to address this issue, it goes further to proffer solutions to this problem.

Written from an experienced point of view, you will find enough information in it to inform and educate you about this issue, giving you a trusted hole to peep through and understand in-depth the matter of violence directed towards Nurses and Health Care Professionals in Nigeria.

Ayinla Daniel, RN.
(Chief Editor Care City Blog)

Violence against nurses and other health care professionals in hospitals and other health care facilities is a growing epidemic across Nigeria.

The rate at which Registered Nurses are being harassed, violated and abused is three times more when compared to the rate at which other health care professionals are maltreated. The reason may not be far fetched, could it be due to the closeness of Registered Nurses to the patient/client? Or other factors which we do not know about? ?

Workplace violence among Registered Nurses in private and government-owned health facilities in Nigeria is under-reported, swept under the carpet and hidden from the full glare of the public. The Hospital managements refuse to put policies in place to curb this menace, they portray lackadaisical attitudes towards protecting health care providers, leaving them at the mercies of brutal relatives and abusive patients.

Nurses have reported verbal assaults of all kinds and threats of various horrifying degrees. There are sad reports of physical assaults ranging from Nurses being spat on, slapped, bitten, beaten, choked, all the way to being punched, having their uniforms torn, suffering humiliation from relatives who have either loosed their loved ones or from patients themselves; though assaults from mentally unstable patients may be understandable, as this is part of on the job hazards that are likely to occur.

These assaults have not only come from the camps of patients and relatives. Security personnel, especially the Police Force, who are meant to defend the civil rights of people, have also been implicated in the horrendous act of torturing and in the manhandling of Registered Nurses and Health Care Professionals who are carrying out their obligatory duties.

Registered Nurses in the Northern parts of the country are kidnapped by insurgents, kept in captivity and made to take care of the sick and dying among these terrorists, putting them in situations that have terrible negative effects on their physical and most importantly their mental health.

Workplace violence is detrimental to the well-being of patients and it also has serious negative effects on the overall performance of hospitals that permit its health care workers to become punching bags to angry patients and furious relatives.

Workplace violence experienced by Nurses & other Health Care Professionals has been associated with:

• Decreased productivity [on the side of hospitals/health care institutions affected].
• Increased employee turnover [The rate at which employees leave an organisation].
• Workplace violence also reduces the quality of a patient’s care [care givers will not possess enough motivation to carry out their professional duties].

To prevent and reduce the frequency and severity of violent incidents in health care settings, a comprehensive workplace violence prevention standard must be established, which should have the following important elements:

• Establish laws and acts in all health institutions across Nigeria to prevent Violence against Health Care and Social Service Workers.

• Promulgate a standard that would require all employers to develop and implement prevention plans to reduce workplace violence incidents.

“In Broadly defining workplace violence one must include threats and physical acts of violence, including incidents involving firearms or dangerous weapons.”

• Require employers to develop unit-specific and facility-specific assessment and prevention methods rather than one-size-fits-all plans.

• Actively involve employees in developing, implementing and reviewing the plan, and provide detailed and interactive training programs for employees.

• Ensure that employers assess hazards and provide correction procedures, including staffing, trained security personnel, environmental risk factors, patient-specific risk factors, alarm systems, and job design and facilities.

• Require that employers establish effective reporting processes and policies to ensure that employees can report workplace violence without fear of retaliation; systems for communicating between coworkers, shifts, emergency services, and law enforcement about risks for violence; and Violent Incident Logs to track all incidents and threats.

• Mandate effective and prompt response to such events in the future.

On the paths of Health Care Professionals, they also have their professional roles to play that can prevent or reduce the occurrence of workplace violence.

• They must be mindful of tense environments and situations and be careful with the words they utter and how they behave in these delicate situations.

• Health Care Professionals go through a lot of stress, both physically and emotionally, they must know how to manage stress, so that it won’t adversely affect their relationships with patients and relatives.

• When you observe that things are about to get really dirty, it is recommended that you gently take your leave or look for safety.

• Be sure to report all cases, never try to retaliate, it’s a foolish thing to do.

• Watch your emotions, don’t allow them run wild!

From your own experiences and exposures, what do you think about this issue?

We want to know your thoughts, drop a comment and also share with colleagues who may be needing this piece of information.