Date of Award

5-2011

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science with Honours (Nursing)

School

School of Nursing, Midwifery and Postgraduate Medicine

Faculty

Computing, Health and Science.

First Advisor

Associate Professor Anne Williams

Second Advisor

Ms Sue Lenthall

Third Advisor

Ms Lesley Andrew

Abstract

Incidents of occupational violence against nurses are unacceptably high. Remote Area
Nurses in Australia frequently encounter violence in the work place and have limited
resources to deal with the problem. Adopting a risk management approach, and
utilising the Delphi method, a panel of expert Remote Area Nurses (n=10) from
geographically diverse communities, identified and prioritised hazards that increase the
risk of violence and made suggestions for controlling those hazards.
Priority hazards included; building maintenance and design, attending call-outs away
from the clinic, staff inexperience and lack of knowledge about the community, as well
as intoxicated clients, communication difficulties and a work culture that accepts verbal
abuse as “part of the job”. Orientation, education and support of staff were identified as
strategies to improve the personal safety of Remote Area Nurses, along with staff
involvement in the development of policies and procedures. Collaboration between the
community and health service to address the broader issues of violence within the
community and towards health service staff was identified as an essential strategy in
reducing the risk of violence.

A "toolbox‟ of strategies is suggested in recognition of the complex nature of
occupational violence within the remote health context. Further development and
assessment of these tools could decrease the incidence of violence amongst remote
health professionals in Australia and overseas.

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