With violence rising in U.S. hospitals, it may not be all that surprising that nurses' aides have the most violent job in Washington State, with registered nurses ranking as runner up, according to KUOW-FM.
Working in the healthcare industry can be dangerous; healthcare workers in Washington experience violent attacks six times more than the state average of all industries, according to the Seattle public radio station. Those working in emergency rooms and psychiatric wards experience even more violence.
Western State Hospital, the most violent workplace in the state, had 313 assaults per patient-care hour last year. Although that number dropped almost 30 percent, union officials note that many violent injuries go unreported, according to KUOW.
What's more, funding cuts to safety net hospitals may put ERs at even higher risk for violence, as patients with limited access to services will turn to the ER for care. "[M]ore of the severely mentally ill are going to the emergency department, and then that makes that group of nurses more at risk because they're getting more exposure," Nan Yragui, a psychologist with the Department of Labor and Industries, told the radio station.
To help keep healthcare workers safe, some hospitals are making everyone pass through a metal detector to enter the ER. Other hospitals are teaching staff ways to pacify agitated patients or visitors, while others are using new color and design schemes to create a more soothing atmosphere in their ERs.
- read the KUOW News report
Hospitals with violence demand improved security
Johns Hopkins shootings highlight emotional side of safety
Taser use against unruly patients at hospitals on the rise