‘The abuse is so demoralising and upsetting’: Midwife says nurses are at breaking point after damning report reveals they are being punched, kicked and spat on at work
- Study found a total of 388 nurses reported having blood or urine thrown at them
- There were reports of attacks using hospital equipment like IV poles, scissors
- 80 per cent of the profession experienced verbal or non-physical forms of abuse
- The report’s author said nurses had even experienced violence in birthing units
A midwife has told how she receives ‘upsetting and demoralising’ abuse from patients after a damning report revealed widespread abuse in hospitals.
A study found that 80 per cent of nurses in New South Wales experienced verbal or non-physical forms of abuse in the past year.
Nurses and midwives have been bitten, spat at, punched and even had bodily fluids thrown at them while on the job, the report found.
Nurses and midwives have been bitten, spat at, punched and even had bodily fluids thrown at them in the past year according to a new report – as they blame ice for the increase in violence
New South Wales midwife Jackie Holmes, 62, told 9news the results from the study – conducted by University of Technology Sydney researcher Dr Jacqui Pich – were not surprising as abuse is common in their field of work.
She said verbal abuse alone can be very demoralising and can stay with you a long time.
‘The verbal abuse can be very demoralising and it can be, you know, very upsetting,’ she said.
The study, which was one of the largest of its kind in Australia, revealed that 35 nurses had reported being sexually attacked.
Four out of five nurses had faced verbal or physical abuse during the past year.
Some had even had hospital equipment used against them as a weapon, the study found.
The shocking report also showed 400 nurses had reported having blood, urine, faeces or semen thrown at them in the past year.
Dr Pich said there have been similar studies covered in other states that have revealed the same results.
She said it was surprising that despite this nothing has been done to address the issues.
New South Wales midwife Jackie Holmes, 62, said the results from the study were not surprising as abuse is common in their field of work
One mental health nurse told The Daily Telegraph under the cover of anonymity the increase in violence had him fearing for his safety – and blamed drugs like ice for the rise
One mental health nurse told The Daily Telegraph under the cover of anonymity the increase in violence had him fearing for his safety.
‘The ice epidemic is real – everyone is being affected by it,’ he said.
‘The shouting and fighting and aggression is happening on an increasing basis.’
When pitching the research in Toronto, Dr Pich asked ‘why is it safer to work in a prison or be police officer?’
Despite the findings, the academic said under-reporting of violence in the medical profession was still a major problem.
‘Often the system is designed so that they won’t report it because it is going to take time or because the violence is so common, or they know if they report it nothing will happen,’ she said.
Abuse New South Wales nurses faced in 2018:
- Verbally or physically abused at work: Four out of five nurses reported
- Workers had been sexually attacked: 35
- Grabbed or hit: 53 per cent
- Kicked, pushed or spat at: 53 per cent
- Punched: 52 per cent
- Blood, urine, faeces or semen thrown at them: 400
- Nurses had their jewellery or hair pulled: 377
Source: Violence in Nursing and Midwifery report