Assaults against nurses soar in Minnesota; reflect nationwide trend

Incidents of violence against nurses and other hospital staff are on the rise. 

In Minnesota, where a metal rod-wielding patient recently charged a nursing station at St. John's Hospital in Maplewood, nurses filed a record 46 workers' compensation claims for assault through September of this year, the Star Tribune reported. If the pace continues, this year's injury claims will equal combined claims for 2012 and 2013.

Hospitals across the state are tightening and increasing security, MPR News reported. Hennepin County Medical Center recently conducted an exercise simulating an in-hospital shooting.

But the violence isn't limited to Minnesota. A national survey of hundreds of U.S. hospitals by the International Security and Safety Foundation this spring found a spike in reported incidents and an upturn in violent crime. In the greater New York area, where a nurse sustained a critical head injury from a patient assault earlier this year, nurses say they aren't prepared to recognize warning signs that patients might become violent, and that they're taught to accept that violence is part of the job.

Hospitals can be held accountable by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration if they fail to adequately protect employees from violence. Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center in Brooklyn was recently fined $78,000 after about 40 violent attacks occurred in a roughly two-month period, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

For more information:
- read the Star Tribune article
- here's the MPR News report
- check out the crime survey (.pdf)
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