How do we COMBAT workplace violence??? - page 2

What should we do??? I read a post that a nurse was killed on the job by a patient at a psychiatric facility. I feel deeply sorry for this nurse and everyone who was involved. Some people do not... Read More

  1. by   Sleepyeyes
    I have the utmost respect for psych nurses due to this very problem....

    maybe this is the one area of a hospital where tracking is a good idea?
  2. by   SanFranciscoGenRN
    I am applying to a SF nursing school in hopes of being a psych nurse. I just discovered this forum today, and I plan to read all the posts and all the topics in the Psych nursing forum. Thanks for posting here... is a very civilized forum compared to other web sites!
    Here is a recent article about psych patients attacking nurses at SF General. SF General is a notoriously tough hospital here.
    Article follows>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Publication date: 08/19/2002
    Nurses are sick of attacks by patients
    Of The Examiner Staff
    ____An alarming number of psychiatric nurses at San Francisco General Hospital have been brutally attacked by patients in recent months.

    ____Nurses at the hospital say more than 15 of their co-workers have been attacked, prompting Supervisor Gavin Newsom to request a hearing on the matter and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to investigate.

    ____Newsom, who will bring the issue up at today's Board of Supervisors meeting, said The City has "an obligation to make sure nurses and doctors feel safe when they go to work every day."

    ____"I have a fundamental belief that if you can't protect your staff, what kind of message is that sending from a management perspective?" Newsom said.

    ____OSHA spokesman Dean Fryer said the agency is investigating the complaints and is examining whether the hospital has "improper safety communication and workplace safety issues."

    ____Newsom's action comes after a string of attacks that have put several nurses out of work.

    ____In late July, a female nurse working the night shift was "beat down" and bitten by an immune-compromised patient with hepatitis C, according to interviews with a half-dozen nurses on the unit. Several days following that incident, a loaded pistol was found in a patient's duffle bag in Ward 7B.

    ____"The gun was the line in the sand," said Roland Washington, nurse and shop steward of Service Employees International Union Local 250. "For most people, it was like, 'I can't take it any more.'"

    ____One victim, Karen Briggs, was injured so badly during an attack that it's unlikely she will ever work again. Briggs and another nurse were attempting to put a violent patient into wrist restraints on Oct. 30 when she was knocked down with punches to the jaw and upper body.

    ____"She hit me so hard in the jaw she knocked my bridge out," said Briggs.

    ____The assault also dissected Briggs' vertical artery, which caused a blood clot to form. Briggs, 61, said she consequently lost all vision in her right eye and her finances have disintegrated to the point where she is filing for bankruptcy.

    ____Nurses are hoping the hospital will beef up security, with regular police rounds through the wards.

    ____They also want the hospital to invest in a more sophisticated alarm system -- which would have individual nurses carry mobile alarms for emergencies -- and want hospital management and the court system to prosecute assaults more seriously.

    ____"There are not a lot of them, but there are a few patients who spend all day saying 'I'm going to kick your ass,'" said Washington. "And then they do it."

    ____A hospital spokeswoman said she could not comment on the recent allegations, and the deputy director of the psychiatric unit did not return calls on Sunday.

    ____Ron Bingham, who has been a nurse for 20 years, said patients are generally younger than they were a decade ago, and more likely to be drug addicts. He said many come to the unit straight from jail after charges against them have been dropped.

    ____"Some days, it feels like a powder keg with all the tension," said nurse Jeff Gaughan. "The patients are terrified, too. How safe can they feel when they see the staff getting attacked?"
    Last edit by SanFranciscoGenRN on Sep 30, '02