When ER Nurses Get Hurt

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In Canada, 84 percent of the nurses in the emergency department saw verbal harassment once in each shift.  Ninety percent of them claimed to undergo verbal abuse at the least once a week. In Australia, 70 percent of the nurses experience violence five times a week at the least.

Emergency room nurses are becoming victims of increasing violence inside emergency departments of hospitals.

A study by the Emergency Nurses Association was conducted and reported 86 percent of all the ER nurses included in the survey experienced some form of violence perpetrated against them while on duty.

In 2005, a report by the Massachusetts Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that there are 4,000 employees in the hospital that were assaulted while working in the ER. In the very same year, emergency room doctors in Michigan accounted that 28 percent has underwent physical assault while 75 percent underwent verbal assaults.

Patients themselves could easily be the culprits of this violence happening in emergency departments. Drunkenness and long hold up inside the waiting room are primary things that would fire up a patient.

According to on one of the biggest studies created on the issue made in Minnesota on 2004, patients perpetrated nearly all of the physical violence and two-thirds of the verbal torments.

Visitors as well as doctors and other staff members are responsible for the rest of the assaults and harassments. It is entirely possible to undergo aggression from the patient’s family members. If the patient was implied in a traumatic incident, his family members’ anxiety levels may be very high and may overwhelm them.

The really common assaults against nurses some of the times result into severe injury. Typical assaults might include hair pulling, spitting, kicking, hitting, and attack using any available object around. Some incidents have resulted into serious injury. There is an ER nurse who lost her baby when she was kicked in the stomach by a patient.

There are behavioral clues when a patient or visitor is expected to be abusive. Stances tend to be tensed up while their speech is loaded and can be menacing or insistent. Assailants would always drop threats of violence. There are also certain diagnoses connected with violent behavior such as substance abuse, acute organic brain syndrome, acute psychoses, partial complex seizures and personality disorders.

Incidents happening on night shift are more expected to make violent patients. In a study by the University of California at Irvine, violent incidents make up 31.8 percent that occurred between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. and only 13.3 percent of the patient volume was witnessed throughout these hours.

So what are the public doing about this?

Security has been strengthened in hospitals to avoid the intensifying violence inside emergency departments. Unions and nursing organizations are always working to attract the focus and inform the public on this matter. They’re also lobbying for a law to increase the penalties against culprits. Programs are currently developed in healthcare institutions to deal with this issue.


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