Violence in the workplace...

  1. The thing I'm most scared about, going into nursing, is the possibility of having to deal with violent or aggressive patients. I am really not good with any sort of aggression, however mild, it terrifies me - and due to an 'incident' when I was younger, I still get very nervous if I have to be alone in a room with anyone male. For those of you working, what precautions are taken in your hospital to keep you safe? It's something that is worrying me a bit.

    Thanks, Paint.
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    Joined: May '04; Posts: 111; Likes: 10


  3. by   Gampopa
    Hi Paint:
    I just started my first rotation at University Hospital. In talking with another nurse on the floor he said they are very responsive and do not hesitate in arresting patients who physically aggressive. That being said. Some other things I've heard to do. If you can have someone go into the room with you until you feel certain you are safe and are comfortable going in alone. If you do not feel safe and have to go it alone do not let the patient get between you and the door. If you're wearing an ID badge that hangs around your neck consider a clip on, know how to contact security from the nurses station and a patient's room and anywhere else you might be.
  4. by   JudithL_in_NH
    At the teensiest hint of aggression, we call security. The security officers are very good about staying in the room, or standing right in the doorway, if there is any cause for concern.

    I had a pt who was talking aggressively (paranoid) just a few days ago. Security came and stood right beside me. Often folks become aggressive because they're scared; if you can assure them that they're safe and you're trying to help them, often they can keep a lid on it.

    As another poster pointed out--always keep an escape route clear, and, if possible, stay farther than arm's length away until you feel they've cooled off a bit.

    I used to be really frightened of these situations, but an eight week rotation on a psych unit taught me that most folks are more sad than scary, and just people who are having a really rough time of life. Treat them with humanity and usually you can do the work you need to with them (but still watch your back).
  5. by   RNNoMore
    That is reassuring to know! I have worked (as an aromatherapist) in Psych wards before (mostly with self-harm and bipolar patients), and did just fine - but at least one nurse was with us the whole time. It's not really the Psych wards I was worried about the most, but ER. I don't know if it's the same in America, but ER in England, on a Friday or a Saturday night when the pubs close is horrendous, and there have been major problems with violence there

    I was impressed the only time I had to go to ER in the USA - there was a security door/block between the waiting room and the clinical area that I had to go through, whereas in England it is (or was) mostly uninhibited access - which causes a lot of problems when you get a whole bunch of people wanting access to the same patient (think drunken friends, street fights, aggressive relatives....). Not a nice situation, and very risky for the staff. My Mum's doctor (back in England) got stabbed in his surgery a few months ago by a druggie wanting a Mum was in the waiting room at the time and they had to evacuate the surgery and all the houses surrounding it. It was several hours before police managed to talk the man down. Thankfully my Mum's doctor was OK. But this was in a sleepy little market town, not even a big city!

    Thankyou for reassuring me that security is good here