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Study finds training course helps in the management of workplace violence

However, the training did not mediate the emotional distress of people after they had been assaulted and also did not significantly change people’s reporting behaviour of incidents.

The findings will be published next year in a comprehensive report on the effectiveness of healthcare staff trained by instructors who graduated from the Professional Management of Aggression and Violence Degree, run by the Dundalk Institute of Technology (DKIT), to manage violent incidents.

“There are very clear findings from the report,” Dr Kevin McKenna, Lecturer in DKIT’s Department of Nursing told the Medical Independent (MI).

“Staff injuries are down; staff assaults are down; absenteeism is down; confidence is up; and clinical effectiveness is up. There are only two findings that are unexpected. One is that training did not mediate the emotional distress of people after they have been assaulted, and also that it didn’t significantly change people’s reporting behaviour. A universal problem across healthcare systems is that staff don’t report occurrences. The belief was that if they are educated and they understand the importance of that, it would change. Although that didn’t happen, everything else changed.”

Dr McKenna said discovering that training did not help with emotional challenges faced by assaulted staff was a useful finding, in that it showed hospital managers and clinicians that these staff required additional support. He said that the success of the training programme, which has been rolled out in a number of hospitals by qualified instructors, is because it is tailored for physicians and healthcare staff taking the course.

“It is a customised programme for the people to be aligned with their actual clinical practice,” according to Dr McKenna.

“That is the variable of success. There was loads of evidence before that, which found training not aligned with the needs of the people getting the training was largely ineffective.”

The DKIT programme in the management of violent incidents for health and social care staff was the first such course offered internationally.

The Training Implementation and Evaluation (TIE) Study on the course was one of the topics discussed at the Fifth International Conference on Workplace Violence, held in Dublin recently.

The three-day summit, which was co-chaired by Dr McKenna, is the largest convention dedicated to work-related aggression and violence within health and social services.

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