Prevalence of sexual harassment against nurses “high and persisting”
An international study has found alarming rates of sexual harassment against female nurses.
The authors of the study, published in BMC Nursing, found that up to 87% of female nurses worldwide have experienced some form of sexual harassment during their career.
Of those studied, 35% reported to having been sexually harassed verbally, 32.6% harassed through non-verbal visual harassment, 31% physically harassed, and 40.8% psychologically harassed.
Behaviours against nurses ranged from sexual jokes and unwanted removal of clothing, to threats of sexual violence and unwanted touching.
The perpetrators of these acts were found to have been predominantly patients (46.59%), physicians (41.10%) or patients’ families (27.74%).
However, startling, other nurses and coworkers represented a significant proportion of reported perpetrators (20% and 17.8% respectively).
The authors warned of the negative effects of sexual harassment against nurses, which included both mental and physical health problems.
“A safe and secure working environment is needed in the nursing practice,” the authors said.
“It is time policymakers develop guidelines on work ethics, legal accountability, team work and counselling programs to reduce sexual harassment against female nurses.”