Sexual Harassment Nurses Patients Workplace Health Care Industry

  1. Description

    Nurses deal with a common problem in the workplace, sexual harassment. While most of this harassment is from co-workers and physicians, a large portion comes from patients. A new study examined how these professionals handle these situations and the effect it has on their job.

    In the health care system, nurses must provide everyday care to patients. Many of these caregivers deal with a common problem in the workplace, sexual harassment. While most of this harassment is from co-workers and physicians, a large portion comes from patients. A new study by a University of Missouri-Columbia researcher examined how these professionals handle these situations and the effect it has on job performance.
    "These roles as caretakers normally require nurses to negotiate the continuum between closeness and distance with their patients both relationally and technically," said Debbie Dougherty, MU assistant communication professor, who conducted the study along with MU graduate students Tammy McGuire and Joshua Atkinson. "Many procedures such as bathing or putting in a catheter require this delicate balance."

    Dougherty and her team interviewed nurses, both male and female, in California, Colorado, Florida and Missouri. Their working environments ranged from nursing homes, to emergency rooms, to doctors' offices, while their experience ranged from a few months to 45 years.

    When asked how they dealt with sexual harassment, many of the nurses spoke of putting patients in their place, either by laughing at them or by using jokes or "put-downs" to create emotional and relational space between them and their patients. Dougherty said nurses consistently responded to sexual harassment by attempting to create distance between themselves and their patients, and they spoke of how they would create more distance if faced with a similar situation again.

    Full Story: http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/515111/
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