Nurses are rank third, right below police officers and correctional officers, for injuries due to workplace violence. Each week, eight to thirteen percent of emergency room nurses are attacked on the job. A 2009 study from the Emergency Nurse’s Association found that more than one-half of all emergency nurses experienced violence on the job.
Why Are Nurses at Risk?
Some experts blame the economy. Many states have cut funding for mental health treatment, forcing drug-addicted and mentally ill patients to seek treatment at the hospital. At the same time, many uninsured Americans rely on emergency rooms for basic medical care. Full emergency rooms mean longer waiting times and increased frustration.
But, workplace violence should not be part of the job. While hospitals cannot refuse treatment to potentially violent patients, hospitals also have a duty to keep staff members safe.
Things Hospitals Can Do to Keep Staff Safe
- Hire trained security staff.
- Form “rapid response” teams to deal with violent incidents.
- Train staff to recognize patients who may become violent and to deescalate potentially violent situations.
- Encourage staff members to report violent incidents.
- Flag the records of patients who have a history of violence.
If You Are Injured in a Hospital Attack…
Philadelphia nurses who are injured by a patient have a right to file Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation claims. Workers’ compensation will cover any medical bills related to an attack and partially compensate a nurse for any lost wages.
To understand more about your right to workers’ compensation, request a free copy of Your Guide To PA Worker’s Compensation or call us at 888-807-WORK (9675). Want to gain up-to-date information and helpful tips? Follow Mednick, Mezyk & Kredo, P.C., on Facebook!