In Texas, what are my rights if a patient attacks (grabs or hits) me? should I hit back? What if I'm cornered and can't run? I know Texas protect ER nurses from assault, but what about the rest of us ?


44 Posts

I think it's a felony to assault a healthcare worker doing their job anywhere in the US. At my facility in Nebraska a sign was posted at all entrances that states such, I haven't seen any signs at my job here in AZ but I haven't looked either. Part of your job is to be aware of your surroundings and avoid the patient being in between the exit and yourself which I know isn't always possible. You have the right to fight back in self defense when it comes down to it but I would check with your facility and BON because your job probably won't be protected if something like that happened.


67 Posts

Specializes in Mental Health. Has 4 years experience.

Are you a psychiatric nurse? Have you training on how to defend yourself? It is your responsibility to know local and other policy.

allnurses Guide

Meriwhen, ASN, BSN, MSN, RN

4 Articles; 7,907 Posts

Specializes in Psych ICU, addictions.

I believe you can defend yourself, however you can't go on the offensive. So if someone were to grab you in a chokehold you could do whatever it took to get out of it...but once you got out of it, you couldn't deck the guy.

I would check with the Texas BON and the hospital policy.

Also, you do have the right to report the assault to the police. However, keep in mind that it's not you nor the hospital who presses charges, but it's the state who decides if charges will be pressed against the patient.

Specializes in Critical Care, Med-Surg, Psych, Geri, LTC, Tele,.

In my area (not Texas) psych facilities use either pro act or CPI. Pro act involves evasive techniques and shielding yourself while CPI allows defensive blocks. In my current facility, defensive blocks aren't allowed.


14,633 Posts

If you work in psychiatric nursing, your facility/employer should be providing you with training in the crisis/de-escalation program and techniques approved by the employer for your use. I've never practiced in TX (and never will ...), but, in every other state in which I've practiced psychiatric nursing over the years, any self-defense techniques other than the employer's approved program, and especially any kind of "hit(ting) back," would leave you open to charges of assault, in addition to being fired and probably being reported to the BON.