Nurses face rising tide of violence; now a felony to assault a nurse in 38 states

  1. 5
    Philadelphia inquirer

    Sunday, November 27, 201

    Nurses face rising tide of violence; It's now a felony to assault a nurse [/b]
    by Lauren Auty, RN, BSN

    ...Violence in the Emergency Department commonly starts when a patient arrives agitated, often for issues related to drug addiction, alcoholism and psychiatric care. This clientele is becoming more numerous and more violent. Visits to Emergency Departments for drug- and alcohol-related incidents climbed from 1.6 million in 2005 to 2 million in 2008, and the number of those visits resulting in violence increased from 16,277 to 21,406, according to the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
    The Los Angeles Times reports that hospital workers, particularly in emergency rooms, say assaults including biting, grabbing, spitting, hitting, kicking and chasing happen so often that they consider it part of the job.

    Even with de-escalation training, verbal abuse can quickly become physical abuse. Despite a large media campaign in 2009 and development of a Workplace Violence Surveillance Study led by the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) to collect quarterly data via an online survey from emergency nurses, the 2010 number was grim. According to latest figures from the ENA, 53.4 percent of nurses in an ER reported experiencing verbal abuse and about 13 percent said they had encountered physical violence at work in the previous week. Being grabbed or pulled was the most common physical assault while yelling and swearing were the most common kind of verbal attack, said 89% of nurses surveyed in 2010, a finding that I agree with based on my clinical experiences.

    The ENA’s President AnnMarie Papa, RN, the Clinical Director of Emergency Nursing at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, is proactive in demanding a no tolerance stance to protect nurses. "The only thing good I see coming out of this is that we continue to let people know that this is an issue. Public awareness is important because it's the public who is committing the violence," says Papa....
    Read more: http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/p...#ixzz1fvRKPMkn
    leslie :-D, sharpeimom, Esme12, and 2 others like this.
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  3. 36 Comments so far...

  4. 3
    Question...if a person is really unaware of what is going on and truly out of their mind, are they going to still be charged with a felony? They are going to be charged with a felony for basically having a sickness?

    Note: I am not talking about people in their right mind who are just assaulting hospital staff for the heck of it.

    Not that I think ANYONE should be assaulted, I am just asking for some clarity.
  5. 7
    Sure, go ahead and charge them. Why not? If it is determined that they were not competent, then the charges will be dismissed anyway. Might as well catch the ones who are competent by charging every one who assaults a nurse. I think it would be a good show of unity and may start spreading the message that it's a bad idea to mess with nurses.
    RNfaster, Rabid Response, shoegalRN, and 4 others like this.
  6. 2
    Why not?

    Because being charged with a felony is pretty serious business and it can take a long time and a lot of money to get those charges dismissed. Everyone doesn't have money for a great lawyer tucked away in their mattress. Is that fair to a person who is having a medical problem where they are not aware of their actions?

    If the person is indeed having a medical problem, what is having them arrested really going to do, other than possibly ruin their life?

    of course, if it is someone who is in their right mind and just assaulting a nurse because they are angry then yes, throw the book at them.
    canigraduate and lindarn like this.
  7. 2
    I see your point. But really, how large a fraction of the assaulters are not in their right mind due to illness?
    SilentfadesRPA and lindarn like this.
  8. 4
    Quote from canigraduate
    I see your point. But really, how large a fraction of the assaulters are not in their right mind due to illness?
    Sorry, I am the kind of person that is concerned even of the few. But don't get me wrong, I am also concerned about people being needlessly harmed in the workplace. My mom worked in a nursing home years ago. The abuse she suffered from patients and staff made my jaw drop.
  9. 5
    I am glad that there are laws in place like this. Now we need all states to get on board with this. As far as I know there is not a law like this in the state I reside in. The abuse we take would not be tolerated in a restaurant or any other place of employment. Even the verbal threatening and name calling would not be tolerated. These people would be "ejected" from other places of business and/or arrested.
  10. 0
    Assault on medical staff performing their jobs should be a felony. period. The courts will provide council for those that can't afford it, and if a medical condition led to the violent episode they will be deemed incompetent. This gets them into the system and hopefully the help they need because competent or not if they are sick enough to be violent with others they don't belong in society. And for those violent because they can well they will have time to reconsider their behavior.
  11. 19
    Try this:

    Become intoxicated/altered on your drug of choice.

    Commit the crime of your choice: shoplift, steal a car, turf your pesky neighbor's lawn ... whatever.

    What do you think the chances are that your intoxication is going to negate whatever legal action results from your criminal behavior?

    But somehow assaulting a health care worker is, in some minds, different ...
  12. 0
    Quote from Altra
    Try this:

    Become intoxicated/altered on your drug of choice.

    Commit the crime of your choice: shoplift, steal a car, turf your pesky neighbor's lawn ... whatever.

    What do you think the chances are that your intoxication is going to negate whatever legal action results from your criminal behavior?

    But somehow assaulting a health care worker is, in some minds, different ...
    I agree with the above poster that we shouldn't charge people with mental illness, but the law already gives a psych evaluation to see if you are fit to stand trial. I think that if anything it will put people with mental illness in a facility to stay and get help. Maybe I am too optimistic?


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