• Subject Name : Nursing

How to Reduce the Number of Staff Assaults on The Mental Health Ward in The Western Sydney Local Health District

Table of Contents


Review of Literature

Research Problem

Research Objectives

Research Questions


Research Approach

Research Method

Data Collection Plan

Data Analysis



Introduction to Demonstrating Rigor Using Thematic Analysis

Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) provides public healthcare to a large number of residents in west of Sydney. Community mental health and impatient acute mental healthcare delivered from Bungarribee House. Mental illness directly affects one in five people in Australia aged between 16 to 85 years. Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) supplies a comprehensive range of services to help people who are experiencing disorders or mental illness. It takes care of the person from prevention through early detection, early intervention, triage assessment, sub-acute and acute care and other different phases of treatment and ongoing support in the community.

It is very sad that the person who is doing one of most valuable jobs in the society goes to the job expecting to encounter aggression and violence. It is seen that mental health ward staffs are not reporting the cases of violence as they are used to it. Proper training should be provided to the Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) clinicians to manage the difficult conversations and reduce the violence (Berry et al., 2016).

Review of Literature

The common thing observed in impatient mental health settings is violence. It is observed that around 17 per cent of the inpatients commit minimum one act at the time of admission (lozzino et al., 2015). The practices which are used by the mental health ward staffs to stop the violence, that is, seclusion and restraint results in both psychological and physical harm to both the patients and the staffs (Renwick et al., 2016). The cost of managing violence is high. It also leads to increased absenteeism rate of staffs, increased staffing levels and compensation claims (Dickens et al., 2013). Therefore, the most important part of the role of health care staff is prevention.

Interpersonal violence is regarded as a public health issue. Thus, prevention of violence comprises of primary, secondary and tertiary prevention activities. Primary prevention activities are those activities which are taken before violence has occurred at ward, organisation or at individual level. Secondary prevention activities aim to avoid imminent violence whereas trial prevention actions include interventions that are done at the time of occurrence of violence.

Many heads and executives condemned spiralling aggression and violence towards mental health ward staffs. They claimed that it had escalated to that very point where the staffs considered it “normal" to be assaulted by the patients while working during their shift. The staffs should be respected and should not be made feel unsafe while working.

It was seen that there was introduction of new violence prevention program by the emergency department of Blacktown Hospital. This was toast address the spate of staffs of mental health ward being punched, spat at and grabbed while they are working. Before the introduction of this new violence prevention program, there was a program which was successfully running in the neonatal intensive care unit of Westmead Hospital. This demonstrates that the Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) has zero tolerance for violence by visitors or patients.

However, the new program enabled staffs to restrict the movements of patients who act violently in the hospital. This new program also bans people from entering specific areas in extreme cases. If aggression can’t be managed by the staffs in the frontline, it is advised that the trained response teams should intervene. To reinforce this program, warning letters will be used. The violence protection program has the motto- “respect works both ways". This means that training is supported and adding real consequences for the offenders.

Research Problem

It is high time to reduce the risk associated with working in the mental health care units. This is the risk that comes with dealing with the patients who are mentally not stable or with disorders. It is seen that the aggression of these patients are only mitigated by the staff that has enough experience and have idea about the complexities of such incidences.

There are incidences where nurses are bashed, strangled or stabbed by the patients or visitors. The staffs are suffering from various severe injuries like facial injuries, bleeding on the brain or eye damage from these attacks. There are complaints by the nurses about the inadequate and poor facilities of hospitals in Western Sydney. There is an urgent need of looking at this problem of assaults on mental health ward staffs by the patients and the visitors. In this research study, the light will be shed in understanding the problems faced by the staffs of mental health care units and the ways to reduce the number of staff assaults on the Mental Health Ward of the Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD).

Research Objectives

The list of points that the researcher wishes to understand are the objectives of a study. In the case of this research study, the following are the research objectives:

  1. To understand the struggles and tribulations associated with working in the mental ward service units and the risk that comes with dealing with patients that are not mentally stable.
  2. The ways to reduce the number of staff assaults on the Mental Health Ward in the Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD).

Research Questions

The main aim of a research paper is defined by research question of a study. The primary question of this research project is given as:

“How to reduce the number of staff assaults on the Mental Health Ward in the Western Sydney Local Health District?”


  1. What are the risks associated with dealing with patients that are not mentally stable?
  2. What are the ways that the assaults on the staffs of mental health ward are reduced?

Methodology of Demonstrating Rigor Using Thematic Analysis

Research Approach

There are basically two approaches to conduct the research project and to find a reliable solution. Inductive research approach and deductive research approach are the two research approaches available to conduct a research study. In inductive research approach, researcher tries to move from a specific or particular observation to a broad theory. The result drawn from this approach is broad as well (Fereday & Muir-Cochrane, 2006). This approach is also known as theoretical approach. However, in the deductive research approach, the researcher moves from a broad theory to a specific or particular conclusion. Thus, this deductive research approach is also known as specific research approach. It is seen that inductive research approach is used when the researcher has decided to use secondary data collection tools. Whereas, the deductive research approach is used when the researcher uses primary data.

In this research study, deductive research approach is used. The reason behind using this research approach is to draw a specific conclusion about the ways to reduce the staff assaults in the mental health ward. Also, the deductive research approach is chosen as it facilitates the use of primary data collection tools. Thus, the findings would be more precise and authentic.

Research Method

Research design and research philosophy comes under research method. Exploratory research design and descriptive research design are the two types of research design that can be used in a research study. Such a research methodology where qualitative data is used is known as descriptive research design (Strassberg et al., 2013). By identifying certain characteristics, this research design helps to understand the specific events. Whereas, exploratory research design facilitates the use of both qualitative and quantitative data collection tools. In this research study, descriptive research design is used. This is because the researcher uses qualitative data collection tools.

Research philosophy is also necessary to be defined for the study. The belief system that is followed by the researcher during a study is known as research philosophy. Intrepretevist and positivist research philosophy can be used in the study. Since quantitative data collection tools have a higher reliability, positivist research philosophy promotes this idea. Whereas, intrepretevist research philosophy uses qualitative data set tools like interviews and case studies (Mackenzie & Knipe, 2006). In this study, the researcher has selected intrepretivist philosophy as qualitative data set tools are used.

Data Collection Plan

Data collection tool to be carefully selected is very important part of the research study. In case of this study, the tools that are available to the researcher include survey questionnaire interview method, books and journal articles and library resources. The survey questionnaire will be used as it will give accurate results. The survey questionnaire is shown in the appendix section (Appendix 1).

Data Analysis

After collection of data, the next step is to analyse the data. The answers to the questions can be analysed using the thematic analysis.

Gantt Chart

To complete a particular study, information is needed regarding the time required. Gantt chart provides this information. The time required by the research is shown in the Appendix section (Appendix 2).

References for Demonstrating Rigor Using Thematic Analysis

Baxter, P., & Jack, S. (2008). Qualitative case study methodology: Study design and implementation for novice researchers. The qualitative report, 13(4), 544-559.

Berry, K., Haddock, G., Kellett, S., Roberts, C., Drake, R. & Barrowclough, C. (2016). Feasibility of a ward‐based psychological intervention to improve staff and patient relationships in psychiatric rehabilitation settings. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 55, 236– 252.

Dickens, G., Picchioni, M. & Long, C. (2013). Aggression in specialist secure and forensic inpatient mental health care: incidence across care pathways". The Journal of Forensic Practice, 15 (3), 206– 217.

Fereday, J., & Muir-Cochrane, E. (2006). Demonstrating rigor using thematic analysis: A hybrid approach of inductive and deductive coding and theme development. International journal of qualitative methods, 5(1), 80-92.

Iozzino, L., Ferrari, C., Large, M., Nielssen, O. & de Girolamo, G. (2015). Prevalence and risk factors of violence by psychiatric acute inpatients: a systematic review and meta‐analysis. PLoS One, 10 (6), e0128536.

Mackenzie, N., & Knipe, S. (2006). Research dilemmas: Paradigms, methods and methodology. Issues in educational research, 16(2), 193-205.

Renwick, L., Lavelle, M., Brennan, G. et al. (2016). Physical injury and workplace assault in UK mental health trusts: An analysis of formal reports. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 25 (4), 355– 366.

Strassberg, D. S., McKinnon, R. K., Sustaíta, M. A., & Rullo, J. (2013). Sexting by high school students: An exploratory and descriptive study. Archives of Sexual behavior, 42(1), 15-21.

Remember, at the center of any academic work, lies clarity and evidence. Should you need further assistance, do look up to our Nursing Assignment Help

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