Nurse safety article

  1. Found this on Yahoo from Reuters. I thought it was interesting. Looks like the media is starting to pay attention.
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    About Katnip

    Joined: Aug '01; Posts: 5,322; Likes: 1,328
    ER RN


  3. by   CountrifiedRN
    Good article cybercat. Thought I'd cut and paste for those who don't like to use links:

    Health - Reuters

    Nurses Face Abuse, Violence by Patients: Study
    Wed Mar 19, 5:20 PM ET Add Health - Reuters to My Yahoo!

    By Jesse J. Logan

    NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Workers on the frontlines of healthcare are encountering "disturbing" levels of unchecked violence and abuse from both patients and coworkers, according to a large study from researchers at the University of Alberta in Canada.

    In a survey of over 9,000 nurses, researchers found that many nurses experienced some sort of violent act during the past five shifts they had worked, with nurses in emergency, medical-surgical and psychiatric settings being the most at risk.

    For example, about 24 percent of medical-surgical nurses reported having been assaulted, as did 22 percent of emergency nurses and 20 percent of nurses working in psychiatric units. Sixty-two percent of emergency room nurses reported emotional abuse, while 55 percent of nurses on psychiatric units and 41 percent of medical-surgical nurses reported such abuse.

    The results are published in the March issue of Health Policy.

    "I was shocked by the numbers," Kathryn Ricker, lead of author of the study, told Reuters Health.

    While patients were the main perpetrators of violence against nurses overall, co-workers were responsible for the most emotional abuse and verbal sexual harassment in critical care units, she said. And nurses were less likely to report violence or abuse if co-workers were the perpetrators, rather than patients.

    Patients were the source of over 95% of physical assaults and over 70% of threats against nurses in emergency, psychiatric, critical care and medical-surgical wards. In critical care wards, where patients are "the sickest, sometimes unconscious, or very weak," physicians and nursing colleagues accounted for 57% of all emotional abuse and 54% of all verbal sexual harassment.

    While patients' family and visitors were much less likely to be perpetrators of violence, they were responsible for a "significant" proportion of abuse and threats, particularly in emergency wards, according to the study.

    Amid reports of nursing shortages and difficulty retaining people in the profession, the researchers suggest that violence and abuse in hospitals likely influences the institutions' ability to attract and retain healthcare providers. They found that nurses who suffered both emotional abuse and at least one other form of violence had the lowest job satisfaction, while those who had never faced violence were the most satisfied with their jobs.

    In the study, researchers attempted to determine the impact of workplace violence in hospitals and explain why it occurs.

    Employing a theory in the study of criminal behavior called "Broken Windows," the researchers hypothesized that when patients, family members, visitors and coworkers see violence go unpunished, it's a signal to them that it's OK to express themselves in a violent or abusive way.

    "Part of the problem is that if co-workers are abusing each other and that is seen as OK, patients are more likely to commit violent acts," Ricker said in a statement, explaining the theory.

    "They see it so often, it becomes normalized," she said.

    Taking a "Broken Windows" approach to curbing workplace violence means making visible responses to complaints, so that observers get the message that violence and abuse are not tolerated.

    "It has to be clear that abuse is not allowed, not acceptable and that there will be repercussions for behaving inappropriately," Ricker said. "Regardless who the person is."

    Hospitals "need to address ways to protect nurses and other health care workers from physical and emotional violence and to keep people safe," Ricker said.

    The study was made possible with a grant from the Alberta Foundation of Medical Research.

    SOURCE: Health Policy 2003;63:311-321.
  4. by   oramar
    Two thumbs up to this one.
  5. by   Good_Queen_Bess
    Nursing is OFFICIALLY the most dangerous job in the UK. (I wonder if they have taken professional boxer or miner into the equation?). We deal with more COSHH (control of substances hazarous to health) than ANY other job or profession. It makes me wonder if anyone (I am sure you have) has REALLY sat and thought about hazards they deal with. Here we go:

    *Sexual harrassment and comments from patients who are fully "with it" cognitively. Bet we have ALL had this one. One of my collegues recently had a valentines card from a really creepy patient who constantly made comments about "sexy nurses".

    *Assault from patients who are either confused or just wankers

    *Bodily fluids: blood, semen, vomit, sputum, poo, weewee, wound goo, saliva.
    esp. patients with trache's who cough while being suctioned which flies out the trache quicker than a rat out a drain pipe.


    *Toxic Drugs: eg; which six months down the line after using them for so long, you find that you shouldn't handle them if you're within child-bearing-age.

    *Oxygen: blows up, dries skin and nasal passage.

    *Infectious disease, eg chest infection etc etc etc etc etc etc

    *Spillages of hazardous substances

    *If you wear gloves a great deal, they make your hands sweat and itchy, whether you have an allergy or not. Then there is the fact that gloves let microbes through anyway.

    *Constant hand-washing drying skin out

    *The fact we work nights takes TIME OFF OUR LIFE EXPENCTANCY. You're body clock is non-existent due to working nights, then days, then nights again. Eek.

    If anyone would like to add to the above, you're quite welcome!
  6. by   altomga
    This was a terrific article. I e-mailed it my my manager!