Doctor becomes a patient: a qualitative study of health care work place violence related perception among junior doctors working in a teaching hospital in India

Sudhir Chandra Joshi, Rita Joshi


Background: Health care work place violence (HCWPV) is four times higher compared to violence against other professions. The problem remains under-reported and under-researched. Qualitative perception studies among junior doctors have not been paid due attention hitherto.

Methods: Six individual face-to-face-indepth-interviews and six focus-group-discussions were conducted during December 2017 and January 2018 among 41 young doctors (interns, resident doctors i.e. post graduate students and young clinical faculty members). Thematic (content) analysis method was used for analysis of the data (texts).

Results: Relevance, causes as well as consequences of HCWPV and measures for its prevention and control were brought up and discussed. Four themes emerged in thematic analysis. Almost all of the participants believed that it is an extremely important topic. Causation is multifactorial whereby all stakeholders are responsible. Consequences are affecting the whole society not merely the victims. Measures suggested were related to - in view of the causes - medical profession; patients and society; behavior and process; system and administration.

Conclusions: Increasing materialism and eclipse of humanitarian values, media-created-violence, negative image of medical profession, patient-physician-distrust, zero-protection for doctors, apathetic governments and deficiencies in the process of justice are among the main causes of HCWPV. Junior doctors were not much optimistic of any improvement in near future in their safety and security as this would require more probity and unity among doctors and a clientele, a Health Care Delivery System, the Governments and a Judiciary much different from what it is today.


Violence against doctors, Health care work place violence, Perception, Qualitative study, Junior doctors, India

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