1 in 3 US healthcare workers feel threatened during pandemic | Health

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 25, 2023 (HealthDay News) — A third of health care workers have endured threats, anger and aggression from the public during the pandemic, and it has taken a toll on their mental health. finds.

“The negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on workers have been documented, and research on psychological impacts is emerging,” said study lead author Hope Tiesman. She is a research epidemiologist with the Division of Safety Research at the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), in Morgantown, W.Va.

“Public health workers perform the important work of providing information and services to the public; it is important to their mental health and to the health of the nation in future public health crises to ensure that their health and well-being are addressed in relation to workplace violence,” added Tiesman .

For the study, more than 26,000 state, tribal, local and territorial health workers responded to an online survey developed by a team of researchers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including Tiesman.

The purpose of the study was also to understand the prevalence of non-physical violence at work on healthcare workers between March 2020 and April 2021.

It included questions about demographics, levels of workplace violence, other workplace factors and mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and suicidal ideation.

The study showed that almost every third healthcare worker experienced at least one form of violence in the workplace. These included receiving job threats or being bullied, harassed or stigmatized while working.

This workplace violence was associated with a 21% greater risk of reporting depression or anxiety, a 31% greater risk of reporting PTSD, and a 26% greater risk of reporting suicidal thoughts. This was true even after controlling for illness including COVID-19, losing a family member to COVID-19, and other stressors during this crisis.

Factors associated with increasing workplace violence included increasing work hours per week and increased interaction with the public, the investigators found.

The more workplace violence someone experienced, the greater the impact on their mental health, according to the report, which was recently published in American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

“As successive public health emergencies unfold, it is critical that we ensure our public health workforce is empowered to mitigate the hostility, harassment and intimidation they face through training, workplace support and greater post-incident communication,” said Tiesman in a journal. news release.

“It is also important to increase the capacity of public health departments to prevent, respond to, and follow up on incidents experienced in the field,” Tiesman added. “There is a need for a better understanding of the extent and consequences of workplace violence, as well as differences across types of public health agencies, geographic locations, and sociodemographic groups.”

More information

The American Nurses Association has more on workplace violence.

SOURCE: American Journal of Preventive Medicinenews release, 24 January 2023

1 in 3 US healthcare workers feel threatened during pandemic | Health

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