It has been noted that workplace violence most frequently occurrs in psychiatric settings. The purpose of this study was to explore the workplace violence, including violence situation, victims' feeling, and the prevention strategies, on workers caring for long-term institutionalized schizophrenic patients in Taiwan. We conducted a face-to-face, in-depth, and semi-structured interview with 13 health care workers suffering from physical violence and/or sexual harassment by patients in 2002. First, the interviews were taped and/or paper-notes recorded, then transcribed, organized, and analyzed. Results found that all of the victims alleged they did not receive enough post-incident support, and more than a half of the victims could not call others for help during the violence. To avoid further attack, most victims offered prevention strategies which were considered valuable for establishing guidelines. However, some victims regarded workplace violence as inevitable and part of the job. The most common situations of workplace violence were during routine ward inspections, especially when the victims were alone. The most serious psychological harm was post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In conclusion, we recommended a re-engineering of the organization to a supportive and safe working environment for prevention of workplace violence in the study hospital.
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