69 percent of nurses subjected to physical, verbal abuse, study reveals

A recent study conducted by the Turkish Health Care Workers’ Union (Türk Sağlık-Sen) has revealed that 69 percent of nurses have been subjected to verbal and physical abuse whilst doing their jobs, with 9 percent saying they had been the victim of violence so many times that they had lost count.

Türk Sağlık-Sen polled 407 nurses to identify the problems nurses face in the workplace.

According to the results of the survey, 69 percent have been subjected to verbal and physical abuse by patients or their relatives at least once during their professional lives, compared to 31 percent who had not. Of those that had been the victims of violence, 50 percent said they had faced violence many times, while 10 percent said they had experienced violence only once. The remaining 9 percent said they had been subjected to violence so many times that they had lost count.

In response to the question, “What is your biggest worry in the workplace?” 33 percent of respondents voiced concerns over “being at odds with their superiors.” A further 23 percent were concerned about workplace bullying, being ostracized or facing an investigation. Another 22 percent were worried that they would not be able to provide a better quality of life for their children. Fifteen percent of respondents complained of financial difficulties and 5 percent were afraid of losing their jobs, while the remaining 2 percent were worried they could not allocate adequate time for their families.

Pollsters also questioned the nurses about their opinions of their superiors. Twenty-nine percent of respondents said they thought their superiors discriminate among subordinates. The rate of the respondents who said they found them fair was only 5 percent. Another 24 percent stated that they had been subjected to psychological pressure by superiors and 19 percent complained about arbitrary management, while the remaining 23 described their superiors as tolerant.

The survey also showed that 67.4 percent believed working conditions have been drifting towards a worse state over the last five years. Another 21.6 percent said there had been no change in working conditions in recent years. Only 11 percent believed their working conditions had improved, the study revealed.

Commenting on the results of the survey, Türk Sağlık-Sen President Önder Kahveci said nurses are struggling with various problems, as the survey has revealed. He stated that there are approximately 110,000 nurses in Turkey and there is one nurse for every 680 people, which means nurses have an excessive workload.

“The government should employ more nurses, but prior to that, it should improve working conditions of nurses and find solutions to the problems they have to endure in their jobs,” Kahveci said, drawing attention to the high percentage of nurses who believe that working conditions have been worsening.

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