It should have been another regular night at the medical center for RN nurses. It should have been a peaceful night as patients relaxed and the nurses treated them with the best of care. Yet it turned into a night of violence. A night when a nurse who was removing a catheter was badly beaten into unconsciousness.
On February 8th, 2014, a nurse working at a Brooklyn hospital was attacked by a 40-year-old male patient. The only thing that saved her life was another nurse who heard the commotion and called for help. While the nurse survived the incident, she when will need to undergo brain surgery caused by the assault.
Assaults On Nurses More Common Than People Think
Out of all the places that a person could be attacked, the last place people think about are hospitals and medical facilities. Yet this isn’t an isolated incident. Back on February 10, 2014, a nurse was slapped by a woman at a medical center in New York City and on January 17, 2014 four nurses and a doctor were attacked by a man looking for his son at a Canada hospital.
Some people may argue that getting attacked is part of the job duty as patients are going through immense physical, mental and emotional stress along with their families. There will be the occasional kick, punch, slap and push down to the ground. Yet when has society become so complacent about nurses becoming physically abused as they fear about returning to their jobs?
Yes, it is true that a person could be attacked at any job. Unfortunately, nurses seem to be almost encouraged to not report the violence against them. These incidents are not acceptable when nearly 60% of nonfatal attacks occurred in the health care and social assistance industries, as stated in 2010 statistical reports gathered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, according to the American Nurses Association. It is also noted that the violent attacks are probably greater than the reported 60% simply because nurses fear reprisals and embarrassment if they report the attack or there are improper reporting mechanisms in place.
The Violence Prevention In Health Care Facilities Act Protects Nurses From Assaults In The Workplace
The Violence Prevention In Health Care Facilities Act is a law designed to protect nurses in the workplace from assaults committed against them by patients, the family of patients and other individuals. It requires licensed health care facilities to create violence prevention programs to provide health and safety resources to nurses involved in violent attacks. The health care facility must have a violence prevention committee with 50% of the members comprising of licensed nurses.
What this law does is give nurses a voice in the medical facility. With nurses as members of the committee, they can create violence prevention plans to increase security and lessen the likelihood of assaults against nursing staff. The violence prevention committee also has the following duties:
- Provide risk-assessment of the facility on a annual basis
- Establish methods that can reduce risks found at the facility
- Identify established violence prevention policies
With this law in place, training, security and facility modifications can occur in health care facilities where there is a threat of assault occurring to nurses. And nurses can feel a bit safer when they are in these working environment.