It Takes Two to Tango: Public Attitudes Toward Prevention of Workplace Violence Against Health Care Staff: A Mixed-Methods Study

Sigalit Warshawski*, Anat Amit Aharon, Michal Itzhaki

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Workplace violence (WPV) directed toward health care staff by patients and their relatives has become one of the major problems faced by health care systems around the world. Incidences of WPV have increased over the past decade, crossing borders and cultures and creating a worrisome global phenomenon. To date, most of the research has examined health care workers’ perceptions of strategies that might prevent violence. Although the public, as prospective patients, has a central role in this state of affairs, little is known about public attitudes to prevention of violence in health care settings. In light of this, the current mixed-methods study aimed to explore public attitudes toward appropriate preventive and punitive measures that should be employed to diminish the occurrence of WPV incidents in health care settings. Five hundred sixty Jewish Israeli individuals participated in the study. Quantitative findings indicate the public’s overall agreement and positive attitudes toward preventive and punitive measures aimed at reducing WPV against health care staff. Qualitative findings revealed two main themes: “focusing on the staff” by improving their work conditions, training them to deal with violence, and providing a sense of security, as well as “focusing on the public” by teaching tolerance, raising awareness of zero tolerance to violence, and punitive measures. The Israeli public believes that to deal with the problem of violence in the health care system, it is necessary to act simultaneously on two levels: health staff and the health care system, and the general public. In view of these findings, we recommend that policy makers address this issue by adopting preventive measures, such as increasing the number of health care personnel, workshops for the staff on dealing with violence, campaigns against violence in health care settings, and enforcing appropriate punitive measures against attackers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)NP8724-NP8746
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Volume36
Issue number15-16
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2021

Keywords

  • bullying
  • violence exposure
  • violent offenders
  • workplace violence

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