Nurses play a vital role in the health care system. These men and women generally spend much more time with patients than doctors and specialists. From managing patients’ pain levels to even providing emotional support, nurses work tirelessly for their patients. On the other side of things, nurses receive very little support from the health care system. The exceptionally high rate of workplace violence against nurses is just one example of this.
Workplace violence might not be the first thing that jumps to mind when talking about work injuries. However, violence in the health care field is a hidden epidemic. This might be partly because so few people seem willing to address the problem.
The problem is patient violence
Going to the emergency room or hospital is generally a very stressful experience. You have probably witnessed patients who arrive in agitated states and seem to only get angrier, and they ultimately end up taking it out on the very people who are trying to help them. A Government Accountability Office survey from 2016 showed that the workplace violence rate for health care workers is 12 times higher than in any other industry.
You should not have to worry about violence every time you go to work. However, the fact is that you are much more likely to suffer injuries because of workplace violence than your friends and family members. The constant stress and worry can make dealing with this even worse.
Nurses are not safe
Hospitals, outpatient facilities and even doctors’ offices could not function without nurses. Since you and your fellow workers do play such a vital role in the health care field, it is hard to understand why you are still subjected to so much violence. It is also important for you to understand that violence is not just a problem at your workplace, and that it is happening everywhere.
In 2017, another survey of registered nurses found out more about health care violence. It concluded that 65% of all registered nurses have either witnessed or experienced violence at work. Incidents of physical, verbal and sexual assault were all reported.
You deserve better
As a nurse, you do everything you can to provide the best possible care for patients. Although you probably never studied for this in nursing school, that sometimes includes de-escalating difficult situations. De-escalation is not always possible, though, and now you are dealing with the results.
Injuries associated with acts of physical workplace violence can be quite severe and include things like brain injuries and broken bones. You know just how difficult it can be to recover from these types of injuries, and the future probably feels very uncertain. You need workers’ compensation for lost wages and medical bills, but denied claims are frighteningly common. This is not a path you have to take by yourself, so you working with an attorney who is experienced in Minnesota workers’ compensation law may be in your interests.