Violence in the workplace. The occurrence of the phenomenon in relation to health care workers
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Katedra Nauk Społecznych i Medycznych, Collegium Medicum im. dra L. Rydygiera w Bydgoszczy, UMK w Toruniu
Submission date: 2021-11-24
Final revision date: 2022-06-30
Acceptance date: 2022-08-14
Online publication date: 2024-04-30
Publication date: 2024-04-30
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Małgorzata Maria Leźnicka   

UMK w Toruniu Collegium Medicum im. L. Rydygiera w Bydgoszczy
Psychiatr Pol 2024;58(2):351-362
Excessive workload of medical workers resulting from insufficient staffing and prolonged stress lead, among others, to burnout, which is a serious problem in the medical community. Research shows that the incidence of anxiety and stress disorders is increasing. For years, the social climate around medical staff in Poland has also been deteriorating. The media write more often about errors and omissions, and less about the daily work of medics. This leads to a decline in public confidence, as well as hate and acts of aggression. The occurrence of the phenomenon of violence against medical staff may be a factor in the development of many diseases associated with high levels of stress and should be of interest to occupational medicine services. The aim of the work is to describe the phenomenon of violence against health care workers and its impact on the working conditions and health of workers. The literature from 2010–2022 was reviewed in PubMed and Web of Science databases by entering the following entries: “violence”, “aggression”, “healthcare”, “stress”, “nurses”, “doctors”, “workplace”. Eighty-three works on the occurrence of the phenomenon of violence against health care workers were qualified for the study. The results of the analysis indicate a shortage of studies on Polish medical entities. The phenomenon of violence against health care workers is a serious problem of public health in the world. The most common forms of workplace violence were verbal violence, physical assault, bullying, sexual harassment and racial harassment. Most often, the violence was committed by patients and their relatives, colleagues and superiors. Aggression towards medical staff is not a new phenomenon, and Poland as a country is not alone in dealing with this problem. Aggression and violence are most often observed in hospital departments, especially psychiatric departments, hospital emergency departments and emergency rooms. Patients and their families are most often regarded as the source of rude behavior. Crisis situations, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, have intensified the scale of the phenomenon. Managing a pandemic also requires establishing preventive procedures for aggression and violence. Additional factors hindering the work of medical personnel may lead to The shortage of studies on Polish medical entities indicates the need to conduct work aimed at determining the scale of the phenomenon and its causes, taking into account the division into organizational units as well as groups of patients and their relatives. Accurate determination of the scale of the phenomenon and predisposing factors will allow to take appropriate innovative preventive actions, which will contribute to limiting the negative consequences. Managers ofmedical entities should take steps to increase the number of reports. Violence has a negative impact on the mental health of medical staff and may cause irreversible physical and mental harm to those who experience it; therefore, it is very important to involve occupational health services in actions to solve the problem.
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