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On-line version ISSN 2223-6279
Print version ISSN 0379-8577

Curationis vol.32 n.3 Pretoria  2009




The lived experience by psychiatric nurses of aggression and violence from patients in a Gauteng psychiatric institution



E BimenyimanaI; M PoggenpoelII; C MyburghIII; V van NiekerkIV

I(MCur): Doctoral Candidate. Department of Nursing Science, University of Johannesburg
II(PhD, RN): Professor. Department of Nursing Science, University of Johannesburg
III(DEd, MCom, BSc (Hons), HED): Professor. Department of Educational Psychology, University of Johannesburg
IV(MCur): Lecturer. Dept of Nursing, University of Johannesburg





Caring for good people is difficult enough; to care for people who are either aggressive or violent is even more difficult. This is what psychiatric nurses working in the psychiatric institution in which research was done are exposed to on a daily basis. The aim of the research was to explore and describe the lived experience by psychiatric nurses of aggression and violence from patients in a Gauteng psychiatric institution. A qualitative, explorative, descriptive, and contextual study design was utilised. Data was collected by means of semi-structured interviews and naive sketches. Tesch 's (Creswell, 2004: 256) method of open coding and an independent coder were utilised for data analysis.
This study shed some light on the lived experience by psychiatric nurses of aggression and violence from patients in a Gauteng psychiatric institution. The findings show that the level of violence and aggression to which psychiatric nurses are exposed is overwhelming and the consequences are alarming. The contributing factors to this violence and aggression are: the mental status and the conditions in which patients are admitted; the staff shortage; the lack of support among the members of the multidisciplinary team (MDT); and the lack of structured and comprehensive orientation among newlv appointed staff members.
As a result, psychiatric nurses are emotionally, psychologically, and physically affected. They then respond with the following emotions and behaviour: fear, anger, frustration, despair, hopelessness and helplessness, substance abuse, absenteeism, retaliation and the development of an "I don't care " attitude.

Keywords: Lived experience, aggression, nurses, patients, aggression and violence and psychiatric institution



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Prof Marie Poggenpoel
Department of Nursing Science
University of Johannesburg
Box 524, Auckland Park, 2006
Tel no: 011-559-2860; Fax:011-559-2257

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