June 6th, 2020

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Workplace Violence in Obstetrics and Gynecology: Results of a National Survey
Authors:  Jean C. Hostage, M.D., Judith E. Arnetz, Ph.D., Angelina Cartin, Jay Schulkin, Ph.D., and Joseph R. Wax, M.D.
  OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the forms, frequency, and impact of workplace violence (WPV) affecting obstetrician-gynecologists.

STUDY DESIGN: Random sampling stratified by geographic district of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists identified 5,000 members who were asked to complete a survey regarding WPV during the preceding 12 months.

RESULTS: A total of 760 (15.2%) questionnaires were returned. Physical assault was reported by 35 (4.7%) respondents, and verbal aggression was reported by 292 (39.9%) respondents. Females were significantly more likely to experience verbal aggression than were males (OR 2.51; 95% CI 1.77–3.57). The most common reaction to experiencing workplace violence was anger (57.2%), followed by feeling anxious (38.2%), fearful (20.4%), or helpless (17.4%). One hundred seventy-three (57.3%) respondents described enjoying work less (29.1%), considering changing practices (21.5%), less motivation (16.9%), and questioning one’s professional abilities or competence (13.6%). A negative impact on patient care was reported by 39.2% of those experiencing WPV. While 72% of respondents acknowledged the WPV reporting systems, 69.9% never reported the incidents.

CONCLUSION: Many obstetrician-gynecologists experience WPV that negatively impacts provider well-being and patient care. Most incidents are unreported, despite the existence of reporting systems. Education on violence prevention and clarity on legal and ethical ramifications of WPV is needed.
Keywords:  female, gynecology, health facilities, health personnel, humans, male, obstetrics, occupational health/standards, occupational injuries, occupational injuries, prevalence, safety management/standards, workplace, workplace violence
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