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Healthcare Givers Have Highest Workplace Violence

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, October 1st, 2015

Healthcare workers are victims of a higher incidence of violence compared to other sectors in the U.S. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, they account for nearly 70% of all nonfatal workplace assaults causing missed work days. A 2014 survey of 762 registered nurses found more than 75% experienced violence, with emergency nurses reporting a significantly greater number of incidents.

The American Nurses Association (ANA) recently issued a position paper stating: “The nursing profession will no longer tolerate violence of any kind from any source.” The paper recommends nurses and employers “collaborate to create a culture of respect.”

healthcare violenceThe ANA’s preliminary findings showed of 3,765 RNs and student nurses questioned about workplace safety, 43% reported they had been threatened by a patient or family member, and 24% said they had been physically assaulted. However, many events go unreported as violence is often accepted as part of the job. ANA is working very hard to get the message out that violence can no longer be tolerated.

A recent book published by the ANA and co-authored by Dr. Jane Lipscomb, RN, FAAN, professor at the University of Maryland’s Schools of Nursing and Medicine, suggests that the current emphasis on patient satisfaction and customer service has been a factor in underreporting workplace violence. Lipscomb wrote: “Workers are often discouraged from reporting patient behavior for fear of poor satisfaction scores.”

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) defines workplace violence as “any act or threat of a physical violence, harassment, intimidation or other life threatening, disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site.” How many nurses have been victims of this? We need to keep working toward a culture of safety, not just for patients, but for healthcare workers; they deserve it.

To learn more ways to care for your healthcare givers check out SelfCare for HealthCare. Have questions about how this culture-shifting program can integrate with your current wellness initiatives? Contact me today!

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