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Physiotherapy students’ experience, confidence and attitudes on the causes and management of violent and aggressive behaviour

Abstract

Objectives

Healthcare professionals are at risk of experiencing violent and aggressive behaviour from patients. This is most notable in those with least experience, such as students, yet little reported research has considered the experiences of physiotherapy students. The aims of this study were to: (1) explore the incidence and nature of violent and aggressive behaviour experienced by physiotherapy students; and (2) consider the attitudes and confidence of the students in dealing with such behaviour.

Design

Retrospective survey.

Setting

A university in the Midlands region of the UK.

Participants

Sixty-four final year physiotherapy students.

Main outcome measures

The Management of Aggression and Violence Attitude Scale and an additional survey.

Results

Over half (33/64, 52%) of the respondents had experienced at least one incident of violent and aggressive behaviour on a clinical placement. The overwhelming majority of victims (60/64, 94%) did not feel adequately confident to deal with such situations. However, no incidents were officially reported to the university. Both victims and non-victims agreed broadly with the internal model of the causes of aggression and violence, but significantly (P=0.02) more victims did not associate the violent and aggressive behaviour with the responsibility of the patient to control their feelings.

Conclusions

Many physiotherapy students experience at least one incident of violent and aggressive behaviour whilst on a clinical placement. Training in the recognition and management of violent and aggressive behaviour would be a beneficial addition to the curricula of physiotherapy programmes. Further larger scale research is warranted.

Cite this article

Physiotherapy students’ experience, confidence and attitudes on the causes and management of violent and aggressive behaviour     Brendon Stubbs, Nick Rayment, Andrew Soundy
Physiotherapy - December 2011 (Vol. 97, Issue 4, Pages 313-318, DOI: 10.1016/j.physio.2011.01.006)

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