Workplace Violence and Neurosurgery: Insights from a Nationwide Survey



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World neurosurgery


OBJECTIVE: Workplace violence (WPV) against neurosurgeons is an understudied phenomenon, as previous research has focused on high-risk specialties like emergency medicine and psychiatry. We sought to fill in this gap in the literature by determining the frequency and type of WPV that neurosurgeons experience. METHODS: We sent a 26-question online survey to members of the American Association of Neurological Surgery via SurveyMonkey. This survey contained questions about WPV experienced over the previous two years, as well as questions about security measures and workplace protocols for WPV. RESULTS: We received 107 responses of 4757 surveys disseminated, a response rate of 2.25%. Although small, this response rate is representative of historical survey response rates. In total, 53.3% of our sample reported WPV, and 4.7% reported at least one physical assault. In total, 50.5% of respondents were afraid of becoming a victim of WPV, and 40.4% felt less secure today than when they began practicing. A total of 17.8% of respondents reported that they had obtained a weapon or a concealed weapon permit due to a perceived threat. Tests for association revealed that early career and female neurosurgeons were significantly more likely to receive verbal threats than other neurosurgeons (P = 0.049 and 0.01, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: WPV is prevalent in neurosurgery at rates comparable with a range of other specialties. Many neurosurgeons feel unsafe in the workplace, with some taking significant actions such as weapon acquisition. An opportunity for education and resources regarding WPV exists, especially among early career and female neurosurgeons.

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