Workplace violence involving radiographers at a state radiology department in Windhoek Namibia
Keywords:verbal abuse, healthcare sector, physical assault, intoxication, overcrowding
The international prevalence of workplace violence (WPV) in the healthcare sector, and isolated cases involving radiographers in a state radiology department in Windhoek, Namibia instigated this research. This study aimed to explore the prevalence of WPV, identify its perpetrators, and determine the emotional state and coping mechanisms of radiographers after WPV incidents. A standardised questionnaire that assessed WPV was distributed to the fifteen radiographers with experience of working night duty. Thirteen questionnaires were returned (response rate = 86.7%). All the respondents had experienced WPV that predominately occurred during night duty. All had experienced verbal abuse (100%) followed by verbal threats (84.6%), sexual harassment (84.6%), and physical assault (46.2%). Causes of WPV included intoxicated patients (100%), long waiting times (61.5%), overcrowding (30.8%), and failure to meet the expectations of patients and their family members (23.1%). WPV perpetrators were mostly patients followed by their family members. The majority of the respondents did not report their respective WPV incidents to the authorities. They were however anxious, disappointed, disgusted and sad after the incidents. They coped by ignoring the incidents or talking to a colleague or family member. The high prevalence of WPV, and its negative implications, requires employers to devise measures to prevent its re-occurrence.
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