Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Nurses Assaulted at Work


Who knew that being a nurse could be a health hazard? A study published in the Journal of Nursing Administration shows that violence against nurses working in the emergency department is at an all time high. A 69 question survey of nurses showed that 25% of them had been assaulted at work more than TWENTY TIMES in the past three years. Almost 20% had undergone verbal abuse over 200 times during the same period.

Respondents who experienced frequent physical violence and/or frequent verbal abuse indicated fear of retaliation and lack of support from hospital administration and ED management as barriers to reporting workplace violence.

OK folks, this is just unacceptable. Nurses in emergency departments work damn hard. They are doing triage to determine who is sick and who just "doesn't have a doctor" to see the pink eye. They deal with blood, vomit, lice and trauma.

Every day at work brings interaction with drunks and mentally ill patients. They assess patients who are "found on floor" and are unconscious. They talk with and assist ambulance drivers, paramedics, crazed family members, angry physicians and patients who are having the worst day of their lives.

Most of the nurses do this with grace, competence and good cheer.

I understand that crazy and impaired patients will be verbally abusive. That is why strict protocols are needed to ensure a safe workplace. If a patient assaults a nurse there needs to be a hospital protocol that is enacted immediately...security called, police notified, action taken. The nurse needs full support and protection. Period.

11 comments:

Raymond Bouchayer said...

I agree....and patients that are abusive should realise that they would get a lot more sympathy if they were courteous and realising that they are other people that needs the nurse attention beside their own.

Knitted in the Womb said...

I absolutely agree that this should not be tolerated.

I was in an ER once where the "gentleman" in the next bed--separated from me by a mere curtain--was extreamely drunk, and had been found with a gash in his head. The nurse was trying to clean him up, and he kept swearing at her.

She told him that he needed to stop cursing, and I kid you not, he said "I'm not f-ing cursing, you f-ing b*&^!"

Amazing.

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Amie Curioso said...

Greetings from Saudi Arabia. Verbal abuse may be tolerated to a certain extent until it tis time to blow steam. At least here in the kingdom....do you have any material to share regarding physical abuse/assault by physicians to nurses? been looking for reference...my OR nurse was bitten by a surgeon as she was looking for the "perfect scrubs" he insisted else he will not do surgery....

amiesilo@gmail.com

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I've been reading the Journal of Nursing Administration and it is one of the best journals in that category. The amount of information is important and we can talk about its balance, it's a good journalism and we can trust in their informations. Likewise, we can read this blog as a good source, specially if we're looking this kind of news. Thanks for sharing this useful article with us, I am a doctor but I need to know about this because is my ethic issue. 23jj

Anonymous said...

iN MY 16 YEARS OF NURSING I WAS NEVER ASSAULTED UNTIL RECENTLY. I WORK IN LONG TERM CARE WHERE THERE SEEMS TO BE A LARGE AMOUNT OF ELDERLY PATIENTS WITH PSYCHIATRIC HISTORIES. WITHIN THE LAST 6 MONTHS I'M VERBALLY ASSAULTED ON A DAILY BASIS, AND WAS PHYSICALLY ASSAULTED AFTER WHICH THERE WAS NO ACTION TAKEN TO THE PATIENT, NOR WAS THERE ANY SUPPORT FROM ADMINISTRATION. MY FELLOW NURSES AND MYSELF ARE THOROUGHLY DISGUSTED.
SUSAN IN TEXAS

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is so hard to be a nurse you know, with all the pression and the strees, maybe with some familiar problems, and with all the doctors orders, sometime you can't blame them for this kind of situation.

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