Nurses, have you been been spit on, pushed, scratched and verbally or assaulted?

  1. 10
    Unfortunately, it is quite common in the nursing profession to have had been assaulted one way or another by a patient at some point in your career.

    For some reason, it is tolerated in the nursing profession and is just accepted as "part of the job"? Police do not tolerate this type of abuse, nor do most professions, why is it tolerated in the nursing profession?

    Do to recent stories of fatal violence in hospitals, I wanted to poll all of you AN'ers and see what kind of percentage of nurses from all specialties have had to deal with violence in some fashion.

    I think we all would like to see policies change to have a safer work environments, please share this poll with your nursing friends, Facebook etc.... Thanks

    Related News:


    Please take a second and answer our poll, then if you wish, please share your stories of your experiences.
    Last edit by brian on Sep 22, '10
    tokmom, NightOwlNurse, jndmj30, and 7 others like this.
  2. Poll: Nurses, have you been been spit on, pushed, scratched and verbally assaulted?

  3. 140 Comments so far...

  4. 30
    I think the question should really say, Nurses, have you been been spit on, pushed, scratched and verbally or assaulted by a patient who is A&O x3 or visitors?
    Makes a big difference to me if the person doing this is confused and scared or just plain mean. It wouldn't have changed my answer, however, lol.
    dsd00, cnabeauty, CarolinaGirl1112, and 27 others like this.
  5. 5
    Funny old ex-preacher did not want a bath first day of clinicals. I was sure not going to get in trouble for not doing part of patient care. I gave him bath while being choked. Lots of jokes about it later.
  6. 1
    Quote from laughing weasel
    Funny old ex-preacher did not want a bath first day of clinicals. I was sure not going to get in trouble for not doing part of patient care. I gave him bath while being choked. Lots of jokes about it later.
    O-M-G.

    So what can nurses do in this situation? Are you allowed to defend yourself? I would really hate someone spitting on me.
    cnabeauty likes this.
  7. 1
    Only one time, in all those years I worked was I ever deliberately hurt by a patient that was in full possession of their mental faculties. My manager was very insistent that I ambulate a very belligerent patient. All my warning bells were going off but I followed the bosses instructions. While I was walking the person down the hall she reached up with her claw like nails and slashed my face. In addition on a small number of occasions, confronted by very hostile family member who were most likely on a combination of drugs and alcohol. I had a very uncomfortable feeling that I might be assaulted if I said or did the wrong thing but it never happened. That because I am very good at calming a tense situation. Additionally, on an equally small number of occasions, I had very demented elderly persons smack me but they were tiny women who couldn't hurt a fly if they tried. Once on step down, a post by-pass patient whose blood gasses were very bad threw a phone at me but he missed. I blame the doc that moved him out of ICU because there is no way a person with P02 and CO2 levels like that should have been moved to step down. The guy was actually a very nice guy that was absolutely gorked. He had no memory of doing it but later on when his wife told him what he did he was very apologetic.
    Nola009 likes this.
  8. 84
    I was spit on by a pt in the ER. I pressed charges, he went to jail. 6 weeks later, I went to court and testified. He went to jail for 6 months and now has a felony assault conviction.

    In IL, its a felony to assault a healthcare worker
    ceccia, HGTVrn33, beeker, and 81 others like this.
  9. 1
    Quote from nvsmom
    O-M-G.

    So what can nurses do in this situation? Are you allowed to defend yourself? I would really hate someone spitting on me.
    The important thing to understand is that you can defend yourself, but it has to be defensive. You can deflect a blow, but not return one. You can use physical force when it's appropriate, but not as punishment. Your goal must always be to keep yourself AND your patient safe.

    And, as another poster noted, if the patient (or visitor, or coworker) is mentally competent, you can always file criminal charges for criminal behavior.
    cherryames1949 likes this.
  10. 24
    I have been : spit on, slapped, punched, kicked, had my fingers twisted, my hair pulled, my glasses yanked off, had my arm broken by a male patient who was being actually physically restrained by at least three other co workers during the attack, called every horrible and vile name known to God and man by patients, patients' family members, co workers and physicians.

    (Not to mention being sexually propositioned by patients, patients family members and pinched on the tush by more than one old man who may or may not have been demented.)

    And what did the Powers that Be do about it all? Not one blessed thing. Not one. Except refuse to allow me to go to ER about my broken arm as I was the only nurse in the building at the time. (TPTB were all at home snug in their beds. I had to go after my shift. I was young stupid and poor. I would NEVER do that again. Now I would say there was NO nurse in the building, see ya later.
    Aongroup1990, beeker, AsatruRN, and 21 others like this.
  11. 0
    [quote=nvsmom;4546590]O-M-G.
  12. 14
    I was sexually assaulted by an orthodox rabbi when he was 5 days post-op. I was told by a supervisor after I reported it that "You can handle it". I was lucky that after a dose of prescribed pain medication he slept through the night. I have had my breasts touched in a bone marrow unit and a step down unit. I was kicked across the room by a male patient whose lytes were out of wack. I was also slapped by a alert and oriented x 3 post op women. I am sure that there have been other instances I can't remember. All of these incidents happened in the hospital. I have never been physically assaulted in the office or while doing home care although these two venues have potential for violence. I think that all health care providers need to take the threat of violence, to their employees, seriously and have clear policies and procedures in place to deal with these issues. Telling your employee to handle it will not cut it. There needs to be a zero tolerance policy for violence.
    Nola009, cnabeauty, Runman1914, and 11 others like this.


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