I refuse to be a punching bag - NO MORE ASSAULT

  1. 32 I am writing this post because I am trying to empower all nurses regardless of title to stand up to this mentality that we have to take abuse.

    Where did this myth come from? Why is it that we are seen as punching bags and sounding boards for the crazy and insane?

    After taking my fair share of abuse and assault over the years, I have taken a stand - ENOUGH IS ENOUGH NO MORE!!!

    Like many nurses, I used to think that being slapped, punched, bit, scratched, hair pulled, poked, spit on, yelled at, cursed out and assaulted in general was just part of our job. Nursing school teaches (indirectly) to be submissive and subservient to your higher ranking employee's and the institution you may work for. The overall nursing workplace politics are such that the bedside nurse is the target/victim of all things under the sun and as nurses we are supposed to take it - "If you have integrity you will thing of this as a learning experience".

    I have news for everyone - NO MORE!

    The fact that nurse assault/abuse posts are so little discussed is a major issue to me. We all need to step up and face this issue.

    And face it with realism and honesty - No more justifications for the patient or there friends. So what if they are under stress! Does being under stress justify assaulting the person who is trying to help the situation? Don't bite the hand that feeds you. Just because the patient has a terminal diagnosis does not justify them from hitting the nurse.

    We as a profession need to challenge this myth that we are expected to take assault.

    I for one refuse to allow any patient to lay a finger on me without appropriate consequences. Sometimes its the show of force from security (our security are ex-cops with Tasers, billyclubs, and mace - you do NOT want to mess with them).

    I am begging for open discussion on this issue - Stand up and empower yourselves and your profession. Assault is assault - If a patient is confused and assaulted you and you have a broken nose, does that lessen the pain or the implications from being victimized? -NO!!!

    Lets all discuss this and realize that we are not to be taking this on the job. We all have had horror stories. We all need to stop making excuses / justifications.
    Last edit by brian on Apr 18, '11 : Reason: formatting
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  3. Visit  abbaking} profile page

    About abbaking

    From 'Phoenix'; Joined Dec '06; Posts: 456; Likes: 1,557.

    45 Comments so far...

  4. Visit  Airidis} profile page
    0
    I find when being yelled at hit,bitten or slapped by someone mentally compenent telling them I do not appreciate their behaviour and it is inappropriote is sometimes a lightbulb effect.
  5. Visit  gentlegiver} profile page
    37
    It is a federal crime to assault a Police Officer, Fireman, EMT or Doctor. And still if you are assaulted at work by a patient or their family/friends, the first thing asked is "What did you do to provoke it?" "How could you have prevented the situation from spiraling out of control?" And God help you if you have the patient/family/friend arrested! You are the one punished by being written up or fired it looks bad in the news to have that a Nurse was assaulted & had an arrest made. After all those people wont want to come back here and spend thier money (or ours for that matter). We need to make it a law that Assaulting a NURSE is just as serious as any of the above professions. How about we all flood our Congressmen with requests for such a law.
    JRP1120, RN, krissy_mack, AmericanRN, and 34 others like this.
  6. Visit  leslie :-D} profile page
    16
    Quote from gentlegiver
    We need to make it a law that Assaulting a NURSE is just as serious as any of the above professions. How about we all flood our Congressmen with requests for such a law.
    while i agree that we should absolutely reject any type of assault on us...
    i struggle with some professions/people being cited as more important than everyone else.
    i believe we are all equal, and the law should be applied accordingly.

    we've always had the chance to press charges.
    i think the more applicable concept here, is to un-brainwash nurses into believing that we did NOT do anything to deserve it.
    once that is accomplished, it's much easier to take action.

    leslie
    MoopleRN, brian, JacknSweetpea, and 13 others like this.
  7. Visit  deyo321} profile page
    9
    Another reason I love my job. An inmate tries to take a swing at me he will be kissing linoleum. And he will definately be picking up charges. I am so much safer here than even in the nursing home where over the years I have been scratched, pinched, spit at, and slapped.
    Poi Dog, Psychtrish39, nurse0520, and 6 others like this.
  8. Visit  deyo321} profile page
    5
    I think leslie that I disagree. Never thought that would happen. My rationale is because we are pretty much compelled to offer help. You can't just walk away from a bleeding person because they are combative, or tell that little old Grandma to take a hike when she scratches you, you still need to provide care. That in my mind raises the level of a medical professional to someone who should be better protected by the law. I don't even like saying that because I also like to believe that everyone is equal. Ahhh the dichotomies of me.
    That being said it wont prevent it from happening, but maybe it would make more people aware of the issue.
    nurse0520, wooh, leslie :-D, and 2 others like this.
  9. Visit  Missjewel22} profile page
    4
    What can we Nurses do about the disrespectful way we are treated by some physicians, administration, patients and family members?

    For example, a patient of mine in labor and delivery didn't want to go home, but she wasn't in labor and the physician wrote the order to send her home. The nurse following me explained to the patient that she wasn't in labor. The patient then proceeded to call the nurse a "*****" and a "f..... *****". She then turned the whole story around and wrote letters to our nurse manager who totally kissed up to the patient, apologized profusely and gave her cell number to the patient, in case she had any further problems.

    I know the nurse that was verbally abused and she is a young, very kind nurse. She in no way deserved or illicited this.

    I am so tired of the lack of respect that we get. I wonder what would of happened if she said that to a doctor?
  10. Visit  TheMoonisMyLantern} profile page
    8
    Quote from Missjewel22
    What can we Nurses do about the disrespectful way we are treated by some physicians, administration, patients and family members?

    One thing I do with difficult patients, is to contact my manager/supervisor before they get a chance to so that they hear my side of the story first. I also document EVERYTHING the patients says so that when/if the notes are pulled they can read what transpired.

    I think nurses everywhere need to stand up together and say to their employers, "We have the right to a harrassment free enviroment, and instead of treating us like battered wives treat us like the professionals that we are!"

    And since our employers are always inservicing us about WHO our customers are: patients, EMPLOYEES, physicians, visitors, and vendors, WE should be allowed to do a customer satisfaction survey as well in which our managers and upper administration's payscale would be affected by what their employers fill out on the survey. I bet things would change then.
    JRP1120, RN, SJHampton, DayOhioRn, and 5 others like this.
  11. Visit  86toronado} profile page
    7
    We have signs all over our ED that say it is illegal in NY to assault a nurse. I had a patient ask me yesterday why they were there. He had no idea that nurses often get punched, kicked, scratched, etc in the course of their everyday job. Educating the public would apparently be a good step to help make it a national law.
  12. Visit  Altra} profile page
    3
    Quote from Airidis
    I find when being yelled at hit,bitten or slapped by someone mentally compenent telling them I do not appreciate their behaviour and it is inappropriote is sometimes a lightbulb effect.
    Someone hits you or bites you and your response is that you "do not appreciate their behavior"?


    Quote from gentlegiver
    It is a federal crime to assault a Police Officer, Fireman, EMT or Doctor.
    No, that's not correct. Every state has statutes which make it a specific crime to assault a police officer. Most states similarly protect fire fighters and EMS workers. Twenty states, most recently Virginia, have enacted legislation which specifically cover emergency department staff including physicians and nurses. That means 30 states are not yet on board with this concept ... for nurses or for physicians.

    I'm sure there are federal codes which apply to the assualt of federal law enforcement officers such as Border Patrol, Federal Marshals, Customs agents, etc.
    clucito01, redddy, and wooh like this.
  13. Visit  gentlegiver} profile page
    1
    Quote from Altra
    No, that's not correct. Every state has statutes which make it a specific crime to assault a police officer. Most states similarly protect fire fighters and EMS workers. Twenty states, most recently Virginia, have enacted legislation which specifically cover emergency department staff including physicians and nurses. That means 30 states are not yet on board with this concept ... for nurses or for physicians.

    I'm sure there are federal codes which apply to the assualt of federal law enforcement officers such as Border Patrol, Federal Marshals, Customs agents, etc.
    My Bad... Sorry, used the wrong term. In Ma, it is a State law that you are to be proscuted to the full extent of the law if you assault a Police Officer, Firefighter, EMT or Dr. But still it's simple Assualt & Battery to strike a Nurse. Still not right!
    wooh likes this.
  14. Visit  caregiver1977} profile page
    0
    As a patient, I think I owe the same respect to the nurse that I expect from him/her. Most mentally competent patients should know that it is not within their best interest to **** off the people that are caring for you.

    When I went to the hospital with my third child I was trying to get the staff to understand that I was IN LABOR. The only person who believed me was the clerk. I guess since I wasn't begging and screaming for drugs the nurses didn't believe me. After making me walk down a long hall while the nurse stood at the door and offered no assistance, even though I almost fell out from my contractions, I had had it. I had REPEATEDLY tried to get these people to understand I was in labor. By the time the nurse finally got around to doing a vaginal exam there was no cervix, the were feeling my son's HEAD. At this point they damn near ran over themselves to get everything ready. At this point I let the nurses have it verbally. I don't even remember what I said.

    Most of the time I have let things slide that I probably shouldn't. I think respect is something that is degrading in our society as a whole, not just in healthcare.
  15. Visit  SkiMama} profile page
    2
    I agree and am starting my BSN program this summer. I will not tolerate being abused - I get that sometimes pts/family have a bad attitude resulting from their condition, their circumstance, whatever - but I will not be abused.

    I am a therapy aide. I have not ever tolerated abuse. A large part of my job is pt export and assisting pts through their exercises in their room or the gym. Lots of times pts want NOOOOOO part of their rehab program. Generally I can charm them into following their tx plan but pts always have the right to refuse tx. On the occasion I have had a beligerent pt who is adamant that they are not going to cooperate I simply verify that they are refusing tx and go directly to the OT/PT and inform them that the pt has refused. I do not wait around in the pts room to be abused. Sometimes there is pressure from certain PT/OTs to talk the pt into coming to the gym. If the pt is refusing tx, they may go and attempt to coerce the pt themselves. I have a right to protect myself.

    And when I am a nurse, I understand that my role will be very different and much more involved - but I am still no one's punching bag. I have a family member who is a nurse and she shared that pts will hit, bite, grab her boobs, etc.... the second that happens to me I will be working with my CN to develop a plan of care for the pt that does not involve my being abused. No way baby.
    flyingchange and Altra like this.


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