Nurses statewide fearful of attacks
Stephanie Embrey has handled her share of screaming and pushy patients in the emergency room. But the Beverly Hospital ER nurse says an assault in September, when she was belted in the chest by an agitated woman, has left her shaken.
It took four staff members to subdue the woman, who also bit a security guard, said Embrey. Hospital officials confirmed the incident.
Embrey - who remains passionate about her job on the front line of healthcare - has joined a growing chorus of nurses statewide who say they are fed up with being punched, kicked, and bitten on the job.
With more patients flocking to emergency rooms and ER waiting times growing, the Massachusetts Nurses Association says its members are fending off an increasing number of aggressive patients, as well as their frustrated family members.
"I've had it," said Sheila Wilson, a registered nurse who has worked in the emergency room at Caritas Carney Hospital in Dorchester for 15 years. She said there were at least three serious assaults by patients on ER staff over the past two months, and those incidents prompted her to speak publicly about the violence problem.
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