Florida hospitals step up data collection on violence against nurses

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The healthcare industry has a serious problem with violence against nurses, but it's difficult to get a clear picture of its frequency because so many workers underreport it. But that is about to change in Florida, where providers are now making an effort to track individual instances of violence or abuse, according to the News-Press.  

The Sunshine State is not among the 18 states that have cracked down on violence against nurses, nor has the Florida College of Emergency Physicians lobbied state legislators about harsher penalties, according to the article. Despite these disadvantages, the Florida Hospital Association (FHA) is working to collect data on hospital violence.

For example, Lee Memorial Health System upgraded its software for monitoring confrontations in March, and has logged 99 incidents at four emergency rooms since then. Similarly, Collier County’s NCH Healthcare System, noticing a lack of data on physical or verbal emergency room incidents, began collecting such data and training workers to recognize signs of potential for violence in patients, according to the article.

Hospitals’ lack of action on violence is often blamed on the increased prominence of patient satisfaction scores, which critics say lead to efforts to appease drug-seeking patients. This hits nurses particularly hard, since it is usually their responsible to tell potentially unstable patients they won’t get the drugs they’ve requested. However, FHA Vice President for Nursing Martha DeCastro argues this is overstated.

"I've never heard any practitioner was pressured in any way to provide a drug not in the best interest of the patient," she told the publication. "They are focused on patients having a satisfying experience, but it wouldn't be at the expense of their overall care."

- here’s the article