Empowering Nurses at the Bedside and in Business

Violence Against Healthcare Workers

Were you aware that 69% of all workplace violence and injuries were suffered by healthcare and social service workers?  This is terrifying.

And it isn’t only patients who are causing the violence.  Recently a nurse in an operating room was choked not by a patient, but by an anesthesiologist!  [Link to article]  He is facing second-degree assault charges and reportedly “retired” following this incident.

At Chicago’s Mercy Hospital this past week, a man with a gun walked into an emergency room, intent on killing his fiancé to get back his engagement ring.  The resultant mayhem ended the lives of 3 people.  [Link to article]

Registered nurses and LPN/LVNs have been punched, kicked and assaulted while on the job in many facilities around the country … sometimes with deadly results.  There has been a 110% spike in the number of such incidents.  Without question, hospitals are places of healing, not of hurting.  Nurses and all healthcare providers should feel safe going to work.  What is going on in the healthcare system is very scary.  Check out the Empowered Nurses’ Bill of Rights and one is a nurse should not be hurt by a patient.

Earlier this month, U.S. Representative Joe Courtney (D-CONN) introduced a bill in Congress to protect healthcare employees by hiring more security guards, purchasing more surveillance cameras and training staffs how to respond to violent situations.

In 2016, California passed the toughest rules in the nation, requiring healthcare employers to individually tailor plans to protect employees from workplace violence.

Elsewhere in California in 2016, a nurse who was 2 months pregnant, was kicked in the pelvis by a delirious patient.  The nurse, thinking she was going to die, was surprised to hear her manager say that she would see the nurse at work the next day!

When incidents of violence erupt in a school, possibly resulting in a death, there are social workers, counselors and even hospice nurses who will step forward to help the students grieve and manage the situation.  What about when healthcare workers must deal with violence?  As a point, what about the healthcare providers who took care of the victims of the Pittsburgh Synagogue shooting?  What was done to help those folks with their mental health as a result of their assistance to those victims?

Some of those professionals who cared for the shooter were Jewish!  What about their mental well-being in providing care to a clearly racist man who was dependent on them for his care after committing such carnage?

Healthcare professionals are expected to give, but who gives to the healthcare professionals?  More needs to be done to assist healthcare professionals in dealing with these situations that really should never happen in the first place.

The mental health of any of us is just as important as that of our children.  Our needs should be met and we must take care of our emotional well-being just as much as we should take care of our physical well-being.

Have you witnessed workplace violence?  Does your facility have anything to support your mental health when these situations occur?

Please let me know your thoughts below.

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