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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 34  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 55-63

Self-perception of sexual harassment: A comparison between female medical and nursing students during clinical practice

1 Associate Professor, Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Universiti Kuala Lumpur Royal College of Medicine Perak, Ipoh, Malaysia
2 Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Quest International University, Perak, Malaysia
3 Medical Officer, Ministry of Health, Malaysia

Correspondence Address:
Fatehpal Singh A/L Waryam Singh Malhi
Universiti Kuala Lumpur Royal College of Medicine Perak, Ipoh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1357-6283.332958

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Background: Sexual harassment (SH) may occur anywhere in the world, including the hospital setting. Medical and nursing students are not excluded from being sexually harassed during their clinical practice. This study examined the experiences and compared the perception of SH between female medical and nursing students during their clinical practice in Perak, Malaysia. Methods: A comparative cross-sectional study design was done among female medical and nursing students during their clinical practice. Results: Total respondents were 481 female medical and nursing students (response rate of 96.2%). About 17.8% of medical and 18.8% of nursing students had been sexually harassed. The most common harasser for medical and nursing students were males (51.2% and 48.8%, respectively), patients (39.7% and 60.3%, respectively), age 30s (41.0% and 59.0%, respectively) and 40s (65.5% and 34.5%, respectively), occurred in medical wards for both groups (50% each). From the SH checklist, 76.9% of medical and 73.5% of nursing students had experienced at least one item of the total 18 items. The abnormal sexual desire of an individual was chosen as the reason for SH by 44.9% of medical and 33.8% of nursing students. The majority of respondents said the issue of SH in clinical practice was very serious. Around 32% of medical students choose the fear of being disadvantaged during clinical practice as the reason why the victims kept quiet while 41.5% of nursing students chose because of not having evidence. Both groups of students suggested establishing rules and laws relating to SH (30.8% and 35.5%, respectively) as effective methods to prevent it. About 75.3% of medical and 81.6% of nursing students agreed that it was very necessary for implementing a SH prevention program. Discussion: Although SH is not a new issue, there is insufficient exposure about SH among medical and nursing students. This can be corrected by increasing their knowledge and awareness about SH.

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