Our healthcare workers in this country are assaulted on a regular basis. The people who are saving our lives and managing the sick are being hit, kicked, scratched, bitten and spat at, as well as threatened and harassed. Even worse, the violence in our hospital emergency departments is escalating. What is even more disturbing is that assault in this line of work is considered the cultural norm. The violence is thought of as “part of the job” (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S009917671300216X).
According to The Journal of Emergency Nursing (May 2014) 80% of the nursing workforce have been attacked and a recent publication in October 2018’s Emergency Physicians Monthly reported 47% of emergency room doctors have been physically assaulted. Of those assaulted, 70% say that although the hospital administration or hospital security did respond to the incident, only 3 percent of those cases resulted in pressing charges
What are the likely reasons for the increased assaults on our healthcare workers?
What can we do about reducing this violence?
The United States is not alone in dealing with this subject. An international coalition was formed to address violence in the healthcare field on a global level; it is called Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition (https://www.intrahealth.org/vital/10-global-health-issues-watch-2018). This violence against healthcare workers is not only at a crisis point in this country, it is considered an epidemic.
Reports, presentations, conversations and reviewing incident reports about hospital violence may or may not have the strongest impact on the subject. Perhaps having hospital administrators spend a Saturday night in the Emergency Department will have the most influence in providing invaluable insight to the problem.
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