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Nurses exposed to sexual harassment

Nurses and nursing students exposed to sexual harassment new study from Tanzania shows
Nurses and nursing students exposed to sexual harassment new study from Tanzania shows
Publicerad: 11 Nov 2020
Reading time: ca

Despite the fact that over 25 percent of nurses worldwide have been subjected to sexual harassment, it is a topic that is rarely discussed. A new study with nurses and nursing students in Tanzania shows that about ten percent of those surveyed had been subjected to sexual harassment.

A total of two hundred nurses and nursing students at a regional hospital in Tanzania have been asked if they have experienced sexual harassment when they have been practicing, either as a nursing student or as a nurse.

Sexual harassment by other staff

Among those who had been sexually harassed, many were ashamed, uncomfortable going back to work and experienced anger. 10.5% of the female participants and 7.8% of the male participants had been exposed. The most common was to be subjected to sexual harassment by other staff.

“The study shows that as many as ten percent of those surveyed had been subjected to some form of sexual harassment. This can pose an occupational hazard and at the same time have a stigmatizing effect on the occupational group of nurses. In addition, 36 percent knew someone who had been exposed, which may indicate an even bigger problem and fear of telling”, says Gunilla Björling, responsible for the study, associate professor in technology in health sciences at the Swedish Red Cross University and affiliated professor in nursing science at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College in Moshi, Tanzania. Gunilla is also the project manager for the joint education project (JoinPro), a Linnaeus-Palme project in research methodology and thesis writing between the Swedish Red Cross University in Stockholm, Sweden, and Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College in Moshi, Tanzania.

Knowledge about how it can be prevented and dealt with is important

The objective of the study was to investigate the prevalence, type and effects of sexual harassment among nurses and nursing students at a regional university hospital in Tanzania. The study shows that increased knowledge, support and education is needed for preventive work around sexual harassment in healthcare. There is often a culture of silence around sexual harassment and therefore it is important that knowledge about how it can be prevented and dealt with by both management and colleagues increases.

The study has been published in SAGE Journals and is a collaboration between the Department of Health Sciences at the University of the Swedish Red Cross University College, the Faculty of Nursing at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College in Moshi, Tanzania, the University of Douala in Cameroon and Karolinska Institutet.

Contact

Gunilla Björling, responsible for the study, associate professor in technology in health sciences at the Swedish Red Cross University and affiliated professor in nursing science at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College in Moshi, Tanzania. Gunilla is also the project manager for the joint education project (JoinPro), a Linnaeus-Palme project in research methodology and thesis writing between the Swedish Red Cross University in Stockholm, Sweden, and Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College in Moshi, Tanzania. Tel. 08 587 516 73, e-mail: gunilla.bjorling@rkh.se

Picture: Gunilla Björling with patient at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College