The physical and mental health of acute psychiatric ward staff, and its relationship to experience of physical violence [2018]

To evaluate and describe the physical and mental health of staff on acute psychiatric wards and examine whether violence exposure is linked with health status. We undertook a cross‐sectional survey with 564 nursing staff and healthcare assistants from 31 psychiatric wards in nine NHS Trusts using the SF‐36, a reliable and valid measure of health status and compared summary scores with national normative data. Additional violence exposure data were collated simultaneously and also compared with health status. The physical health of staff was worse, and their mental health was better than the general population. Physical health data were skewed and showed a small number of staff in relatively poor health while the majority were above average. Better physical health was associated with less time in the current post, a higher pay grade, and less exposure to mild physical violence in the past year. Better mental health was associated with being older and from an ethnic minority background. Violence exposure influenced physical health but not mental health when possible confounders were considered. Mental health was strongly influenced by ethnicity, and further research might highlight the impact on own‐group ethnic density on the quality of care. The impact of staff whom are physically unwell or impaired in the workplace needs to be considered as the quality of care may be compromised despite this being an example of inclusiveness, equal opportunities employment, and positive staff motivation.

Laoise Renwick RMN, BNS, FHEA, Phd Mary Lavelle BSc (Hons), MSc, PhD Karen James BSc, MSc, PhD Duncan Stewart BA (Hons), PhD Michelle Richardson BA, MRes, DPhil Len Bowers RMN, PhD
International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, Volume 28, Issue 1, February 2019