Nurses, get informed about workplace violence

Whether perpetrated by a patient or as the result of workplace bullying, violence against nurses is never acceptable.

As the discussion continues in the nursing community on how to prevent workplace violence, laws are being enacted nationwide to reduce the number of incidents and make healthcare settings safer for both patients and staff.

In the Prevent Workplace Violence in Nursing digital edition we explore this important topic, along with measures being taken to decrease violence against medical staff. Nurses of every level and specialty should read this issue — it could make a difference in your own jobs and lives.

Included in the edition is an informative piece by Robert G. Hess Jr., PhD, RN, FAAN, executive vice president and chief clinical executive for by OnCourse Learning who tells the story of his early days as an RN having colleagues victimized by workplace violence. Hess explains the more stoic attitudes that once existed on the subject — “Bob, suck it up. It’s our job” — and how those viewpoints, thankfully, have evolved. But more still needs to be done.

“As nurses, we work in one of the most dangerous jobs in the nation,” Hess said. “Violence is just one of the hazards that pepper our work. We must also cope with the incredible physical demands of hard work as well as exhaustion from long hours, unscheduled overtime and changing shifts.”

In an era when gun violence and mass shootings are at the forefront of everyone’s minds, we also look at how hospitals can be safer and more prepared — from receiving multiple casualties to dealing with the threat of gun violence.

We examine just how essential safety preparedness is for hospitals and other healthcare facilities in Hospital shooting rates bump up need for active shooter drills. The article talks with Daniel Nadworny, DNP, RN, a member of the Emergency Nurses Association’s Emergency Preparedness Committee. A cardiac surgeon was shot in 2015 by a family member of a former patient at another hospital just 500 yards from the facility where Nadworny now works.

“A lot of risk mitigation can happen ahead of time, and part of preparation is doing drills,” said Nadworny, clinical director of operations for ED and urgent at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. “And it does not have to be large-scale events with hundreds of volunteers. It can be a group of people talking through a scenario from start to finish.”

Learn how to address workplace violence

But what can be done when violence is coming right through the doors of the ED? We explore this issue in Workplace violence continues to rear its ugly head.

Allison Boreham, RN, shares her experiences with being physically assaulted by patients — both times while she was pregnant. Incidents can range from verbal assaults, spitting, hitting, hair pulling, shoving and throwing, to gun violence and even murder. Data also reveals healthcare workers are at a much higher risk for workplace violence than those in other professions.

Readers also will find startling ENA survey results from 2011 showing more than 54% of 7,000 emergency nurse participants reported experiences of physical violence or verbal abuse within the past seven days.

But it isn’t just physical or verbal abuse from patients that puts nurses at risk. We’ll also examine how bullying by coworkers or managers is sometimes an all-to-common scenario. Worried you might be bullying someone yourself? Read Are you a bully? and find out if you’re in danger of becoming the perpetrator.

The edition also features a free CE course on staying calm in conflict situations and another CE course on conflict resolution. Nurses also should read guidelines and tips for whistleblowing and read remarkable insight on the topic by nurse legal expert Nancy J. Brent, MS, JD, RN.

Read Prevent Workplace Violence in Nursing and learn how we can all help create a safer and healthier environment for nurses and patients.

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