By July 10, 2008 0 Comments

Is workplace violence just a part of the job for nurses?


In a very concerning story published in the New York Times, nurses and other personal care workers suffer from workplace assualts at an alarming rate. In fact the Bureau of Labor Statistics report that half of all nonfatal injuries resulting from workplace assaults occur in health care and social service settings.

Another interesting aspect of this is the relation that the nursing shortage plays in this:

Nurses say the persistent nationwide nursing shortage is making matters worse, because understaffing increases the risk of violent incidents. And nurses cite the fear of assault as a reason for low morale, especially if they feel that management does not share their concern.

“Staffing levels really affect what happens in terms of safety on the unit,” said Barbara Williams, a psychiatric and emergency room nurse who retired last year from Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz, Calif. “If people’s needs don’t get met in a timely manner, that level of frustration builds. When people become angry, the nurses become the focus of the anger when they really had nothing to do with it.”

I cannot imagine having to endure verbal or physical assaults while at work and this story really opened my eyes as I had no idea that this was happening at such a high rate! It certainly has given me a new appreciation for all nurses. Your jobs are difficult enough that you shouldn’t need to deal with this also.

Have you ever suffered from an attack while on a travel nursing assignment?  What measures do your facilities take to safegaurd against these attacks?

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