Nurses in fear after rampage

  1. Nurses in fear after rampage
    By JIM KELLY
    May 16, 2004

    NURSES at Swan District Hospital are demanding immediate protection after a violent psychiatric patient went berserk yesterday morning.

    Staff at the hospital's mental health unit abandoned the nursing post after a distressed patient used a chair to smash his way out of a secure area.

    The rampage follows the March bashing of nurse Debbie Freeman, who suffered brain damage when a patient stomped on her head and body at the Swan Health Service.

    A second nurse was also injured during the attack on Ms Freeman.

    Australian Nurses Federation president secretary Mark Olson said yesterday's incident highlighted staff demands for security guards at the hospital. Hospital management had agreed to upgrade security but not as soon as nurses wanted.

    "Nurses working at Swan District mental health unit have genuine concerns for their safety," he said.

    "The fact that management is prepared to put it off for three months shows they are not taking security seriously.

    "This latest incident clearly demonstrates something needs to be done now."

    East Metropolitan mental health director Dr Mark Rooney denied staff were in any danger during yesterday's rampage.

    "Unfortunately, aggressive incidents of this kind do occur from time to time within a secure unit," he said.

    "The decision has already been made to recruit security for the hospital.

    "We have said that will happen by the end of June but sooner if possible.

    "We need people with the right skills and experience."

    The patient involved in yesterday's incident became agitated after being admitted to a ward shortly after midnight.

    He broke a plastic plate and threatened to slash his throat before smashing furniture in the room.

    The man then used a chair to break a glass window separating the room and nursing post.

    Police were called to subdue the man, who was handcuffed before being sedated by a doctor.

    Nurses had picketed the hospital on Wednesday to protest against the time being taken by management to respond to their security demands.

    Health Minister Jim McGinty said attacks on hospital staff demonstrated the need for significant security improvements in the mental health unit and emergency ward.

    The Sunday Times
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  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   renerian
    Scarey.

    renerian
  4. by   nurseunderwater
    that's crazy.
  5. by   Blackcat99
    Yes very scary. I sure hope those nurses will get some security guards and quick.I use to work in state psychiatric hospitals in the USA. We had security guards that we could call but it would take them forever to actually arrive on the unit. It would sure be nice if each unit had it's own security guards assigned to that specific unit. Our patients seemed to know that it would take awhile before the security guards would actually arrive.
  6. by   talaxandra
    Quote from nursebedlam
    East Metropolitan mental health director Dr Mark Rooney denied staff were in any danger during yesterday's rampage.
    "Unfortunately, aggressive incidents of this kind do occur from time to time within a secure unit," he said.
    "The decision has already been made to recruit security for the hospital.
    "We have said that will happen by the end of June but sooner if possible.
    "We need people with the right skills and experience."
    The patient involved in yesterday's incident became agitated after being admitted to a ward shortly after midnight.
    He broke a plastic plate and threatened to slash his throat before smashing furniture in the room.
    The man then used a chair to break a glass window separating the room and nursing post.
    Police were called to subdue the man, who was handcuffed before being sedated by a doctor.
    Um. What? Okay, first - June? A nurse was so badly assaulted that she's still (as far as I know - does anyone have an update?) in hospital, and they STILL haven't hired security staff? What's the unit doing without security in the first place? I'm not saying all psych units needed armed militia on staff, but given that incidents like this happen not infrequently, even in general wards, some strategy short of calling the police seems reasonable as a standard measure.
    Which brings me to two: this guy had to be handcuffed by the police, after: a) breaking a plastic plate (not so easy - and why did he have disposable crockery if not because this was a foreseeable event?!); b) threatening self harm; c) breaking furniture; and d) smashing the glass partition. In what way were staff not at risk? Let's pop Dr Rooney at the nursing post, an armed and angry psych patient smashing through glass in front of him, and see how unthreatened he feels.
    You can bet that if a patient were assaulted there'd be an outcry, and security before you could blink. On my unit we had a BPD patient who was found with his hand on a female patient's (clothed, if that makes a difference) breast, and he had a patient attendant for the rest of his (ridiculously extended) admission, at a cost of $40K. Nice to see their commitment to the nursing staff. :angryfire
  7. by   pitto
    We deal with lots of potentially dangerous clients before transfer to Perth and it can be scary. Having previously been a copper for some 15 years I can't believe how we nurses let our administrations get away with putting our safety in jeopardy. What happened at Swan could happen anytime to anyone of us and we MUST make our management accountable. May I suggest a refusal to admit these pts. is the only answer unless and until a safe workplace is provided. Maybe tough but there does not appear to be any other answer.

    Stay safe
  8. by   emmy
    Disgusting :angryfire

    I think all nurses should be taught some form of self defence.

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