RNs / Student nurses slapped in the face

  1. Just happen to stumble into this particular article...


    Having been able to work for 2 years both at a hospital and a clinic, i've had a few encounters of patients who were totally verbally abusive and demanding. Personally, experiences like this adds up to the big responsibility vested on the shoulders of the nurses in the workplace. Though we are being taught at nursing schools the proper attitude or values nurses must possess, incidents like this can really test our patience especially if you've already had a whole bad and tiring day at work..

    But so far, i've never had any experience yet of being physically harmed by my patient and i'm not waiting or desiring for it to happen t0 me.. what are your thoughts about this article?.. is there anybody who experienced some form of physical harm by their patients?!
  2. 23 Comments

  3. by   NuteRN
    I've done work one-on-one with psych patients admitted to my hospital, and I've have many cases of phyisical abuse (hitting, kicking, strangling). It can be scary at the time, but you need to remember that there is probably someone close who would come running if you yelled for help.
  4. by   ghillbert
    Yes, have been pinched, kicked, grabbed - mostly by confused, elderly patients in nursing homes who get frightened when you turn them or something.
  5. by   JessicRN
    All I will say is NO NO NO do not accept violence. If the patient is known to be violent I would make sure the hospital instituted a "2 person care at all times) never approach a known violent patient alone. If there is security available then it would be no approach without security
    If the patient is not mentally incapacitated is just drunk and violent is psych but is not comitted then you have a right to charge the person with assault (maybe a day in jail would have changed that nursing home patients attitude).
    If the hospital condones it make sure you have sent them emails about this violent person (not incident reports because those reports are considred confidential and cannot be used by a lawyer) but personal email a lawyer can supeona). Ask to have a meeting with the patient and his family and inform him if he hits he will have to leave the facility until he can behave in a more apropriate manner. (As a director I have discharged violent patients who have alzheimers even) and you will seek legal action against him if he continues make make threats, tries to or hits someone. Make sure there is a plan to prevent the violence. Remeber if the patient hits staff who is to say he won't hit another patient. If noone does anything you have 2 options wait until you are hit then sue the hospital or quit and find a safer job.
    In the ED any patient who makes a threat is immediately placed on a security watch, if he tries to hit he is placed in 4 point restraints in seconds where he/she stays at least an hour (the patient is released only after he is behaving appropriatly for 30 minutes. If the patient hit me or a staff member or security the police are called if the patient is medically cleared he/she is arrested and charged with felony assault. We have a fantastic security team which is used often.
    We have a patient who comes in at least once a day and when she is drunk she has been known to be violent she has spent first 6 months in jail for hitting a security officer then again she hit another security officer after she was released and got another 1.5 year sentence. Our place does not condone violence.
  6. by   stelon
    I've been hit/slapped around on occasion also usually by confused elderly patients. Most recently I was kicked in the abdomen by a man who had worked his restraint loose.

    The worst case I had I wasn't actually hurt. I had to sit with a patient, a big guy who wasn't in his right mind. They wouldn't restrain him because it just made him more agitated and overnight he had stuffed full soda cans into a pillow case with the intention of it being a weapon. (this was of course confiscated as soon as we found it.)

    My nurses were pretty bothered about me having to sit in there and gave security a heads up in the morning. He ended up very agitated when I didn't want to let him pull his dialysis access out of his chest. He was about to hit me but I backed off and pushed the button on the locators we wear.

    There were about 5 nurses in there with me in under 5 seconds. They called his family and convinced them to sit with him the rest of the day.
  7. by   Moogie
    I was once hit by an elderly man with dementia issues complicated by some sort of psychiatric problem. He had a documented history of violence against staff but nothing was in the care plan about how to approach him. Additionally, in spite of his history of throwing objects at staff, he was still permitted access to the foot rests of his wheelchair, plastic drinking cups, breakable dishes, and metal utensils. He once grabbed a gait belt from a nurse and tried to hit her with it. One evening, I came in to help the nurse on the previous shift; she needed to leave early and I was helping her out. She failed to give the resident his afternoon psychotropic medication and that evening, when I attempted to give him his meds, he threw first water at me and then hit me on the head with a plastic glass. I ended up in the ER and returned the next night because my husband was afraid I'd suffered a closed head injury. Immediately after I was hit, I was nauseous and started having dry heaves. Next day I was uncoordinated and forgetful in my speech. Husband took me back to the ER to see if I had a concussion. I most likely did have a mild concussion but nothing showed up on the head CT.

    Adding insult to injury, though, the DON wrote me up because I must have done "something" wrong. I tried to give the man his meds and would have left him alone had he not grabbed the meds away from me. Policy states we're not supposed to leave meds in the resident's room. I approached him in a calm yet firm manner. I did not have another staff member with me because, at the time, it was not in the care plan and besides, the CNAs were busy with other residents. But I was written up.

    Nothing happened to the nurse who made a med error and forgot to give him his psychotropic drug. I don't believe any of the other staff who were harmed by this man were disciplined, just me because I went to the ER for treatment. Had a pretty good laceration on my head---didn't need stitches but since it was a head wound, it bled like a horror movie.

    I have left that particular facility.
    Last edit by Moogie on Jun 29, '09
  8. by   nkara
    If you haven't had the physical abuse yet your lucky. Working in med/surg with patients with psych problems, geriatrics, and drunks/druggies you get it all. I've had kicking, punching, biting, pushing. You name it. I'm in pedi now and still have the same thing. 4 point leather restraints don't always work either.
  9. by   HollyHart
    An aide doing a 1:1 on a guy that was dt-ing got punched in the face and had a black eye. I have personally been scratched, hit, grabbed several times. Usually by elderly stroke pts, or again people dt-ing. Always take another person with you.
  10. by   RedWeasel
    Oh I have been pinched, spit at, swatted at, and the one that took my breath away was a little old lady who put her size 7 right square into my stomach. Didn't see that coming. I was so mad. I wasn't thinking and I stammered as I placed her leg back in the bed, "DONT KICK ME I am pregnant!" She just looked at me. "Well not for long if I can help it." I had to leave the room. I wasn't pregnant but I could have been and we had been tiptoeing around her all day. It just came out, and though she couldn't admit it, it did make her think. Ya gotta watch yer back-and yer front in nursing....
  11. by   Scrubby
    If I even suspect someone is violent I will not go near them. I didn't become a nurse so I could be physically assaulted.

    Silvergirl-How disgusting some people really are. What a horrible thing to say.
  12. by   CanuckStudent
    I've been spit at and slapped in the @$$ by a patient with dementia. Nice. I guess he wasn't *that* confused as he knew exactly where to aim

    I also worked with a patient in LTC that would not let me help her with HS care. She clawed me, swore at me, told me she'd kill me, and that she'd make sure that I got fired. She kept saying "you sick, sick people". She then growled, and tried to bite me. I felt terrible, as I felt that I had upset her simply by offering to help her. This is where I began to question if I am actually helping people or simply prolonging suffering.

    These are the worst cases, but I am still a student....

    Another lady (without dementia or a psych dx) felt the need to be extremely rude to me. As she refused all care, I asked if she would like to have her ATN changed at the very least. She agreed to that, but would not let me raise her bed. I explained that I needed to raise the bed as part of (TLR) safety protocol, and so I did not injure my back or her (that just kind of came out). She snarled/fired out "you don't need to do that, your back will be fine, who cares about your back" and proceeded to try and swat my hand as I reached for the button.

    Makes me regret going into nursing at all.

    Sorry if this offends, but I am just being honest. I am really struggling right now with my choice. I won't put up with this. I was abused as a child, I have no intentions of being abused as an adult, let alone at my workplace.

    Nope, sorry.

    It's disgusting how the public too often gives little respect to the people who are caring for them. Aside from the cases where the disease process is the cause of the behaviour and thus not their fault, there are a good number of fully cognitive people who simply see nurses as a worthless punching bag.

    I don't expect a thank you card or even a thank you from clients, but I don't expect to be abused either.
  13. by   BrnEyedGirl
    I work ER and I've been pinched, spat on, kicked, and grabbed on various parts of my body. The only time I was actually injured was when I was working on a unit and the pt was truly confused and we both landed in the floor. I can over look the pt who is truly confused, but those who are drunk/high/ or just plain mean are reported to the police,...I love our security,..the are all commissioned officers and carry guns. If you hit them you have just assaulted an officer of the law! It doesn't hurt my feelings a bit to discharge these creeps to law enforcement and watch them leave in hand cuffs!
  14. by   chicookie
    I have been run into/ tackled. Well he wasn't a patient but it was at the hospital. (for more reference look up Stalked and Tackled: The Chicookie Story. LOL)

    I've had someone grab my boob. I've been kicked and I have been almost slapped. These I have forgiven because the patient was a lil bit off their rocker. But I've been poked in my face, even though that does not seem like much, the patients family member got a ear full. I do not allow people threatening me or raising their voices at me, I don't care who they are. They are not even close to me to say that they can treat me that way. If they were close to me, they would know better than doing that.