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.
Posted by Toni Brayer, MD at 12:10 PM