Authors: Wayne Rigby, Lesley Burrows, NSW
Event: 2003 TheMHS Conference
Subject: Better Inpatient Services, patient agression
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: Patient aggression and violence is not a new phenomenon. The care and management of aggressive patients is seen as a common activity for nurses working in acute adult in-patient units. Past research has certainly recognised that nurses and allied staff working within acute mental health units are in the high-risk category for exposure to aggression and violence. Until recently, this was seldom discussed, let alone written about, and not surprising, reflective of the tradition in nursing where the patient comes first, it was viewed that aggression and violence were an accepted occupational hazard by nurses and other staff.
The emergent themes from reviewing studies on patient violence and aggression indicate the need to educate and train staff in the prevention and management of aggression as well as examine the environment in which this is occurring. There is little information about staff's perception of their experiences when faced with aggression, especially on a historical perspective. This descriptive survey emerged as a result of nurses discussing how aggression was perceived and managed 10, 20 and 30 years ago, compared to current management techniques. The qualitative research was conducted in a rural setting, it describes and compares the experiences of nurses and medical officers, with various years of experience working in open, semi – open and closed acute in-patient units. It is hoped that the thematic findings from this study will assist nurses and medical officers to identify ways of dealing more effectively with aggression.