Occupational violence in general practice: A whole-of-practice problem. Results of a cross-sectional study

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Journal Article
Australian Health Review, 2011, 35 (1), pp. 75 - 80
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Objective. To examine the experiences of occupational violence in general practitioner (GP) and non-GP staff. Further objectives were to compare prevalence of violence in GP and non-GP staff and to examine levels of apprehension and perceptions of control over violence. Design. Cross-sectional questionnaire-based study. Setting. A network of research general practices, New South Wales, Australia. Participants. GPs and non-GP staff receptionist, practice-management, nursing and allied health staff. Main outcome measure(s). Experience of occupational violence during the previous 12 months. Other outcomes examined were workplace apprehension regarding violence, perception of occupational violence as a problem in general practice, and perception of control over violence in the workplace. Results. A total of125 questionnaire replies were received (response rate 55%), 59.3% of GPs and 74.6% of non-GPs had experienced work-related violence during the previous 12 months. The difference was not significant (OR 0.65, 95% CI 0.202.06). Subjects in rural practices were more likely than those in urban practices to have experienced violence (OR 3.79, 95% CI 1.1512.5). Personal experience of violence (OR 35.9, 95% CI 6.24207) and a perception that violence is increasing (OR 8.33, 95% CI 1.8936.6) were associated with apprehension regarding violence at work. What is known about the topic? The prevalence and impact upon GPs of occupational violence is well established, but occupational violence has been little-researched in non-GP staff. What does this paper add? This study demonstrates that occupational violence is a major issue for non-GP staff at least as much as it is for GPs. What are the implications for practitioners? Apprehension and fear among general practice staff are strongly associated with experiences of violence and must be addressed at a whole-of-practice level with measures to reduce violence and improve safety. © 2011 AHHA.
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