Project title

Experiences of psychiatric trainees with workplace violence.


New Zealand


Psychiatric trainees are particularly vulnerable to workplace violence, including assault. No study to date has gained an in-depth understanding of the experiences psychiatric trainees have regarding workplace violence. Information on psychiatric trainees in New Zealand is even further limited. Available research lacks the richness of qualitative data and doesn’t capture the intricacies and details of trainees’ perspectives and reflections on these difficult events.


This qualitative research will look at the experiences of psychiatric trainees in New Zealand regarding workplace violence. It will also explore barriers to achieving safe practices and ways to enhance workplace safety. The study will also incorporate an aspect that looks at how cultural practices can improve safety and contribute to enhancing partnership between Māori and healthcare professionals.


The aim is to begin to understand this complex issue through the acquisition of data using in-depth interviews and contribute to future recommendations for safe workplace practice across a variety of healthcare settings.  

The research has now been completed and been published in the BJPsych Bulletin (  The research identified three main themes:
(a) That violence is ‘part of the job’, leading to a culture of silence;
(b) empowering trainees to address a sense of learned helplessness; and
(c) conflict embedded within the unique nature of psychiatry.