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Assessing whether psychiatric trainees feel safe in the workplace

  • Catia Acosta (a1), James Warner (a2), Michael Kopelman (a1) and Ramin Nilforooshan (a3)
Abstract
Aims and method

Previous studies have shown that 17 to 60% of psychiatric trainees have been physically or verbally assaulted. To measure the frequency of assaults and the trainees' reactions, we conducted a retrospective self-reported survey of attendees at MRCPsych teaching courses in south London and at an annual meeting of psychiatric trainees.

Results

Overall, 64% of the questionnaires distributed were returned completed. Of the trainees who responded, 41% had been physically assaulted at least once and 89% had been verbally assaulted. As a result of the assault, 34% of trainees were subsequently more risk aware and 11% were now hesitant to assess patients with a history of violence. There was no association between the level of training or attendance at a breakaway training course and having been subject to physical assault.

Clinical implications

Our study showed unacceptable levels of physical and verbal assault on psychiatric trainees and an important effect of those incidents on clinical practice.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Corresponding author
Ramin Nilforooshan (ramin.nilforooshan@nhs.net)
Footnotes
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Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes
References
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1 Davies, S. Assaults and threats on psychiatrists. Psychiatr Bull 2001; 25: 8991.
2 Chubb, H. Safety awareness among junior psychiatrists and provisions for their safety in the workplace. Psychiatr Bull 1997; 21: 80–3.
3 Kidd, B, Stark, CR. Violence and junior doctors working in psychiatry. Psychiatr Bull 1992; 16: 144–5.
4 Fottrell, E. A study of violent behaviour among patients in psychiatric hospitals. Br J Psychiatry 1980; 136: 216–21.
5 Health Services Advisory Committee. Violence and Aggression to Staff in Health Services. Guidance on Assessment and Management. HSE Books, 1997.
6 Dibben, C, O'Shea, R, Chang, R, Woodger, J. Safety for psychiatrists – from trainee to consultant. Psychiatr Bull 2008; 32: 85–7.
7 Lyon, JR, Snyder, WR, Merrill, GL. Under reporting of assaults on staff in a state hospital. Hosp Community Psychiatry 1981; 32: 497–8.
8 Brown, TM, Addie, K, Eagles, JM. Recruitment into psychiatry: views of consultants in Scotland. Psychiatr Bull 2007; 31: 411–3.
9 Brockington, IF, Mumford, DB. Recruitment into psychiatry. Br J Psychiatry 2002; 180: 307–12.
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 1758-3209
  • EISSN: 1758-3217
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
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Assessing whether psychiatric trainees feel safe in the workplace

  • Catia Acosta (a1), James Warner (a2), Michael Kopelman (a1) and Ramin Nilforooshan (a3)
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