Healthcare violence and occupational safety support of nurses in a psychiatric hospital in South Africa

  • R. Mathevula
  • A. van der Wath
  • S. Mataboge
Keywords: appreciative inquiry; mental health nursing; patient violence; psychiatric hospital


Nurses working in psychiatric hospitals are at risk of exposure to violent incidents, resulting in burnout and job dissatisfaction. The study was based on three appreciative inquiry objectives: to explore and describe the best support experiences of nurses after exposure to violent incidents (discovery); their wishes for the ideal support (dream); and their suggestions to improve the support structures (design). Data were collected through a nominal group technique and analysed using thematic analysis. Participants experienced the best support from their colleagues. Nurses tended to underreport incidents of violence, and were not satisfied with the institutional support, security services and occupational health service. They wished for ongoing training, staff support, a userfriendly reporting system, compensation for working in an unsafe environment, and protection of their rights. Exposure to violent incidents should be reported to management who should ensure appropriate support to improve nurse’ work satisfaction and quality patient care.


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eISSN: 1596-9231