Many hospitals seeing increase in violence

  1. Hospitals are a mirror of society and, like schools after Columbine, it's become clear that what's staring in the mirror isn't always pretty.

    ..... most violent incidents have "precursors," signs that something is wrong, but they often show up after the fact. Even when hospital staff sense friction in the hospital, they don't want to make mountains out of molehills.
    "It boils down to we can't always tell the players from the spectators."

    (in addition to violence, thefts are up) including a case where 14 stolen operating room cameras, worth about $20,000 each, ended up in Canada and on eBay.
    http://www.dailymail.com/News/200906150690
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    Joined: Mar '07; Posts: 1,101; Likes: 1,979
    housewife and mother; from US

    14 Comments

  3. by   madnurse2b
    http://www.ktnv.com/Global/story.asp?S=9990718

    This was an incident locally a couple of months ago. It seems like it is getting even worse out there with the number of people out of work, and out of hope in this town.
  4. by   VORB
    And yet, no facts in the article to back up such an audacious, sensational and inflammatory headline.
  5. by   MamaKitty13214
    I work in a public hospital in a city just a little bigger than Charleston. There were some incidents of family members causing incidents and hurting staff members, most recently a patient's wife smacked a nurse manager in the face & fractured her cheekbone. A few years ago, a husband came to visit his wife on the rehab unit and murdered her by poisoning her. The hospital is the only Level I Trauma Center in a 22 county area, so we get all the gunshots, stabbings, beatings, and horrific car accident injuries. All kinds of people come through the door & you never know who is going to snap because people are so stressed.

    A couple of years ago the hospital spent a fortune establishing its own police force and a security system which requires everyone coming through the door to show picture ID & get a hospital issued ID label which they are required to wear while in the hospital. This hospital is also the only hospital in the area that has an actual prison unit to serve area slammers. It is like working in a police state.
  6. by   Katnip
    When I was younger, you didn't see that much violent behavior. But then hospitals weren't geared toward customer service, they had rules and they were enforced. While our "customer is always right" attitude obviously isn't the entire root of the problem, I really think the fostering of entitlement helps drive some of the behaviors we're seeing today. It starts with being rude, then can escalate into violence.

    This whole entitlement orientation permeates society on every level these days. We excuse rude and violent behavior on stress. Sorry, I'm not buying it. I get extremely stressed. I don't snap at the sale clerk, I don't shove people in line, and I sure don't beat my kids or grab a gun and go out and shoot someone. Problem is, as long as we provide excuses, people are going to continue to push the envelope.
  7. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from katnip
    when i was younger, you didn't see that much violent behavior. but then hospitals weren't geared toward customer service, they had rules and they were enforced. while our "customer is always right" attitude obviously isn't the entire root of the problem, i really think the fostering of entitlement helps drive some of the behaviors we're seeing today. it starts with being rude, then can escalate into violence.

    this whole entitlement orientation permeates society on every level these days. we excuse rude and violent behavior on stress. sorry, i'm not buying it. i get extremely stressed. i don't snap at the sale clerk, i don't shove people in line, and i sure don't beat my kids or grab a gun and go out and shoot someone. problem is, as long as we provide excuses, people are going to continue to push the envelope.
    when i started in the late 70s, people were polite, respectful of nurses and grateful. they aren't like that anymore, and i think you're right: the customer service mentality has a lot to do with it. the whole entitlement orientation is seeped into every level of society, but there *is* no excuse for punching out the healthcare worker who is trying to help.
  8. by   pagandeva2000
    I concurr with the customer service. Suddenly, the nurse is wrong no matter what. We make decisions based on priority and meanwhile, the public is being educated that they are to receive service with a smile. Doesn't promote discipline and this can contribute to the violence.

    I think that these economic times also add to the stress which can lead to agitation. Nurses are losing benefits, seeing their collagues laid off, are working shorter with more critical patients. Even a saint can be challenged with these circumstances, and a frustrated, overworked nurse who is now forced to include insane customer service protocols or be faced with write ups, or excuses for termination can add to this.
  9. by   VORB
    I would say about 3/4 or more of my patients are happy with me and tell me so. Maybe about 5 percent of them are truly unthankful hateful beings.

    So I think there are ways of diffusing situations, and a lot of it has to do with the nurse's attitude and personality. Some of those factors are changeable, some not.

    We have a nurse on my shift who is 'fired' by patients on a biweekly basis. That is the fault of the nurse, not the patient.
  10. by   I love my cat!
    I think that all patients, as well as their friends and family members, should have to sign some sort of agreement about how they MUST behave within a Health Care environment.
    Threats will not be tolerated, raised voices are inexcusable, challenging the Nurse's every little move is unacceptable, etc......you get my point.
    Perhaps a hand-out reminding them why a patient is usually in a Hospital in the first place!
  11. by   mommyonamission
    A key issue is the communication barrier and communication differences in style between cultures. Let's face it, the majority of nurses are white women. That's a specific demographic. Tone and diction differences between cultures can immediately create an issue and "escalate" situations. As a black woman who has lived and worked in all white environments as well as all black environments, I have seen these differences first hand. And not to leave out other races/ethnicities but just trying to make a quick point.

    Bottomline: healthy communication is essential. More tolerance for each other's differences and styles is needed. Can it be fixed overnight? No. Will it ever be fixed 100%? I'm not saying that. But we can try and start with offering continuing education on a regular basis regarding sensitivity training for nurses and, as one poster already pointed out, perhaps reminding patients of what is expected of them within our health systems too.
    Last edit by mommyonamission on Jun 19, '09 : Reason: missed some words
  12. by   MedSurgeMess
    I agree that most of the trouble starts with a sense of entitlement. Sometimes, though, it's the nurse who acts as if s/he knows what's best that makes the pt and family act out. Rudeness from anyone is not excusable. I've been lucky enough that I usually don't have much issue with patients, and if I do, I always offer to get another nurse to handle their care.
  13. by   cugila
    Back in the 70's at a local Hospital in Birmingham UK if there was any problem with patients misbehaving or threatening staff, the Police were called and if the situation could not be defused then the perpetrator would get 'locked up.' The incidence of voilent attacks was few and far between. It seems that now the Police don't get involved whether by choice or by direction ? Security staff don't seem to have the backup and are often little more than bystanders. Maybe we should get the Police back in the Hospital's and protect the Nurses and others who are at risk each day ?

    cugila.
  14. by   LEN-RN
    I was at an area hospital 4 or so years ago. A man came in, shot and killed his wife who was a patient. Then left the hospital, drove home and shot himself. I heard the shot, but thought it was maintenance.

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