Professional nurses' knowledge and skills in the management of aggressive patients in a psychiatric hospital in the Western Cape
Martin, Penelope D.
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Aggression and violence by patients towards psychiatric nurses are a global issue. Professional nurses working in psychiatric hospitals are required to look after psychiatric patients who may become aggressive. They may not be equipped to deal with aggression as the focus of nursing is on patient care, thus they may not have the necessary skills and knowledge to intervene in aggressive episodes. A quantitative approach, descriptive design was used to determine the knowledge and skills of professional nurses in managing aggression of psychiatric patients. The study was conducted in a psychiatric hospital in the Western Cape. The target population consisted of 119 professional nurses working in the psychiatric hospital. An all-inclusive sample of professional nurses was selected to complete a self-developed structured questionnaire. The overall Cronbach's Alpha for the instrument was 0.721. A total of 70 questionnaires were handed out, yielding a return of 52 completed questionnaires. The response rate was74%. Data analysis was done using SPSS version 22 from which descriptive data was obtained. Findings suggest that nurses are likely to be exposed to verbal aggression as opposed to sexual aggression. Nurses with less years of experience had more knowledge than experienced nurses who have been in practice longer. Nurses who had training in aggression management reported that it did not meet their needs. Overall, the findings revealed that nurses have good (above 80) knowledge about management of aggressive psychiatric patients. There is a need for on-going in-service training and refresher courses in the management of aggression. There should be a needs analysis prior to the commencement of the training.