Nurses confront violence on the job

It's well-known nurses have the most physical, in-your-face role in the delivery of healthcare. What gets less attention is that far too often, this results in nurses facing the threat of patient assaults. Emergency department nurses are at the greatest risk, given that they are more likely to see actively mentally ill, intoxicated or drugged-out patients, but nurses elsewhere have faced nasty confrontations too. Nursing organizations say budget cuts resulting in short staffing is one reason for the problem.

In one disturbing study, 50 percent of nurses surveyed by the Massachusetts Nurses Association and the University of Massachusetts reported that they'd been punched at least once during a two-year period, with others reporting being strangled or sexually assaulted. Meanwhile, a national survey conducted by the Emergency Nurses Association found 86 percent of nurses reported being a victim of workplace violence during the past three years. Nurse organizations are increasingly encouraging nurses to report assaults and press charges.

To find out more about the problem:
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