Violence against nurses

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Violence Against Nurses

Intro to Nursing (14SPNURS361246)
January 19, 2014

Violence Against Nurses
Violence is a growing problem in the field of nursing, as the mental instability that might preempt violent attacks is very often related to the cause that brought the attackers to the facility in the first place or can even serve as a reaction to the perceived institutionalization of the facility. This can encompass behavior or mood destabilization of various medication side-effects and/or interactions, increased anxiety or paranoia as it relates to the healthcare industry, or mental illness and substance abusers (a population overrepresented in hospitals). Regardless of the origin of the aggression, every sick patient is one that contains a certain degree of distress and this can manifest in many different forms of affect. It should not be surprising then that violence can present in even the most benign patient, but protecting nurses against this growing trend is difficult. One popular target for increased violent outbreaks is becoming the emergency department (ED) of hospitals. One body of research acknowledges this. Physical violence in the ED remains a problem for emergency nurses during the routine performance of nursing practice. Efforts to prevent violence and promote workplace safety need to focus on work designs allowing for the quick egress of employees away from violent patients and visitors; establish and consistently enforce policies aimed at preventing workplace violence, and maintain positive working relationships with security officers. While patients with mental health or substance use complaints were deemed as the most stressful encounters of physical violence, they are not the only patients acting out violently that lead to nursing stress. Therefore, risk reduction efforts should target all patients and visitors, and not be restrictive to any sub-population. Future research needs to quantitatively measure the frequency and severity of consequences and effects to the worker, workplace, and patient care for those physically violent events deemed as most distressful (Gillespie, Gates, & Berry, 2013). Amongst the ED staff, nurses provide more direct (and invasive) patient care (taking place in private and semi-private settings), they are privy to the clients before the patient history is even assessed (triage), and are available in larger numbers than any other healthcare professional in the hospital. As a population, they are easier to target for an aggressive patient. According to the Emergency Department Violence Surveillance Study reported in 2012: Over three-quarters (82.0%) of the incidents of ED physical violence against a nurse occurred in a patient’s room. 24.0% in a corridor/hallway/stairwell/elevator and 14.6% at the nurses’ station. The most frequently reported activities that emergency nurses were involved in at the time of a violent incident were Triaging a patient (40.2%)

Restraining/subduing a patient (34.8%)
Performing an invasive procedure (29.4%).
Of the participants who were victims of workplace physical violence (n = 789), 13.4% sustained a physical injury, with the most common type of injury being a bruise/contusion/blunt trauma (60.0%) (Emergency Nurses Association, 2012).

The National Center for Victims with Crime reports that “More than one-half (55 percent) of emergency nurses reported having experienced physical violence and/or verbal abuse from a patient and/or visitor during a seven-day calendar period in which the nurses worked an average of 36.9 hours. Of emergency room nurses who reported being victims of physical violence in the workplace, 62 percent experienced more than one incident of physical violence from a patient or visitor during a seven-day period” (Workplace Violence, 2012). With the numbers of nurses being attacked each year, it is even more disparaging that the research shows that the victims are not reporting this information to...
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