Healthcare workers are one of the groups most vulnerable to threats and violence in the labor market. The Swedish Healthcare Association estimates that the problems worsened during the corona pandemic. Longer waiting lines and more sick patients are two reasons.
Sineva Ribeiro, president of the Swedish Healthcare Association. Stock photos.
Typical situation that arises in the emergency room: A father waits with his son for a doctor’s help. The waiting time is now several hours, and suddenly the father goes to the nurse, asks for the name and who the person is, picks up the cell phone to record a video, while demanding that the son go to the doctor immediately.
A new study by Novus during the pandemic on behalf of the Swedish Healthcare Association shows that four out of ten have ever been at risk at work. The study was conducted among union members, including licensed midwives, biomedical analysts, x-ray nurses, and nurses.
Sineva Ribeiro, president of the Healthcare Association, says the longer queues after the pandemic has brought with it are contributing to the increase in the number of threats. People who end up in a care facility are in a much worse condition than before. Even patients who seek emergency care are at a disadvantage and are more affected. Sitting in a waiting room for several hours can cause tension.
“We don’t have any more staff to do it, and when you do it, you can see that the risk of threats and violence increases,” he says.
The fact that patients are more ill is confirmed by a new report from the National Board of Health and Welfare, which shows that the percentage of visits leading to hospitalization increased during the pandemic.
Most of those at risk respond in the survey that they were exposed by the patient (81 percent) or a relative of the patient (39 percent). The A&E unit is the unit members say is most affected, followed by psychiatry and primary and home health care.
Sineva Ribeiro is an example of a man on drugs meeting her in the emergency room and trying to get into the doctor’s room. At the last moment, she closed the door, but the man broke the glass and injured himself. When she told her the man was bleeding, things calmed down and he could take care of himself.
– Ambulance will be the gateway to healthcare. You probably threatened the nurse at the clinic earlier on the phone, says Ribeiro.
The care association recognizes that the issue of skill development and staff turnover has an additional impact on the working climate in care facilities. An experienced nurse knows how to deal with a sick person. Therefore, it is important to combine the work experience in the departments well, and according to the Healthcare Association, employers do not understand this.
– The employer has a huge responsibility. Many are young in the profession and the risk increases with high staff turnover.
Therefore, with the approaching Christmas and New Years holidays, there is great concern about how lean staff will affect care.
The other side of the coin is the lack of respect for legal professions, says Ribeiro. He picks up a project that started in Angered in Northeast Gothenburg, where blue light workers came out and met young people after a firefighter threw a stone at him and was so badly injured he ended up in a wheelchair.
– I think we must collaborate in advance in society to understand what we are doing. These are long-term projects, says Sineva Ribeiro.
About the survey
Made by Novus on behalf of Vårdförbundet via online interviews.
Number of interviews: 1066
Fältperiod: September 26 – October 8
Participant frequency: 48% The results are representative of the target group (members of the Swedish Physicians Association, ie 114,000 nurses, biomedical analysts, midwives and X-ray nurses).
Source: Novus and Vårdförbundet