Violence in the Emergency Department

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    Would like to find out how many of the ER nurses have experienced abuse, violence to them,or threats of abuse or violence from their patients. Also what was the situation at the time and if this happened with in the last year or two.

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    JWV
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  4. 17 Comments so far...

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    I've been lucky, I've been threatened, but that's when the police get there and haul the person away. Years ago, a coworker was helping to comfort a man who had just lost his elderly mother . He reached over and punched her in the face, throwing her across the room. (She was 5'11" 200 lbs at the time) The attending leaped over the counter and went after him, but he ran away. At that time (10 years ago), administration stated that there wasn't any legal recourse because the guy was "distressed". Now it's a felony and he could be arrested if that happened today. I only know of one ER in the region that work (Philly) that has armed guards, the rest have their own security patrols...which can be hit or miss.
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    I have been threatened with violence as well as having been assaulted and battered in my own ED, but thanks to my coworkers, no one was hurt. This has been about four years for the physical violence; the threats are almost monthly.
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    Originally posted by AZTRAUMANURSE:
    I have been threatened with violence as well as having been assaulted and battered in my own ED, but thanks to my coworkers, no one was hurt. This has been about four years for the physical violence; the threats are almost monthly.
    There is NO reason this should continue on a regular basis. Are you all reporting and documenting these episodes through your channels? Are you filing police reports and filing charges against these patients/family members who are threatening, assaulting and/or battering you? Does your workplace offer any training (per OSHA recommendations) on workplace violence? If not, then you all need to unite together and insist on a safe work environment. Document each and every instance to your head nurse, to security, to whoever you have to. It's amazing what a group of employees can accomplish when they stick together. It may convince your hospital that it will be more cost effective in the long run to make the enviornment safer with a "zero tolerance" policy then to pay out $$ for injuries and the resulting bad publicity should someone get seriously hurt or killed. Management is not in the front lines, you, the workers, are and you need to act NOW. The zero tolerance should extend across the board - family, patients, visitors, friends AND your beloved co-workers. It takes guts but you need to stand up for yourselves and not wait for someone else to do it.



    [This message has been edited by Toots (edited April 20, 2000).]
  8. 0
    Originally posted by JWV:
    Would like to find out how many of the ER nurses have experienced abuse, violence to them,or threats of abuse or violence from their patients. Also what was the situation at the time and if this happened with in the last year or two.

    hi
    i work in the er in a hospital in Israel and all of our nurshs are being exposed to threts name calling and even violence. i think our bosses are just going to do nothing about it until somthing awful happens to one of us!


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    INBALE
  9. 0
    I worked in peds ED where it can be a problem, also we were right next to the main ED, Our security dept wears kavalare vests(bullet proof)wish I'd had one...so yes it's a problem. we've had knives/guns brought in...our staff both security and all ED is cut to the bone. God help us if anything happens...it'll take a miracle to make sure no one gets hurt.just alittle extra stress...
  10. 0
    I worked in an A&E Dept (ER) in England, and in Ireland. Violence in the A&E Dept is commonplace in both countries and is usually ass'd with high alcohol intake. i am a nurse manager, but am regularly called to A&E when there is violence. I have been attacked more often than the Staff Nurses, so I certainly have a vested interest in dealing with the problem.

    We have security guards and we regularly call in the Garda Siochana (Police) who deal with the problem, but there is always another individual who 'has a go'.

    We try to protect, we have security cameras for use in evidence, we prosecute, but the problem never goes away.

    The only effective mechanism for protecting staff,we have found, is to provide a safe 'cell' for staff to retreat to and from where they can call for the police.
  11. 0
    Hi,
    I have been a nurse for 20 years and just had my first experience with violence in the workplace. I have, of course, had my share of verbal abuse, but the line was crossed and it became physical. I was shocked and dismayed to discover that it is a simple assault and battery. I would like to find out if any states treat this as a felony or a more serious offense. I work in South Carolina. Thanks for any input/replies.

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  12. 0
    Originally posted by RN-CW:
    Hi,
    I have been a nurse for 20 years and just had my first experience with violence in the workplace. I have, of course, had my share of verbal abuse, but the line was crossed and it became physical. I was shocked and dismayed to discover that it is a simple assault and battery. I would like to find out if any states treat this as a felony or a more serious offense. I work in South Carolina. Thanks for any input/replies.

    California is one of the states that makes it a mandatory police report for violence against a health care worker. You may try to contact the California Nurses Assocation for more information. I hope you are okay physicall and emotionally.

  13. 0
    The Ed that I work at is not locked at this time . Our emergency mental health unit has closed and the medical Ed has absorbed these patients who are homeless and dangerous.
    I have work on a proposal for the last year which i am presenting to the CEO, DON, and other adminstrators 6/20/00. Wish me luck.I can't belive this is some I have to "pitch" an idea. Having a secured unit is the standard. Anyone else as angry as I am?
    The MD's at this Ed are the least supportive bunch in the business which makes it that much harder. Thanks for listening.


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