Kicked, pummeled, taken hostage, stabbed and sexually assaulted … would you want a job that included these risks? In One of America's Most Dangerous Jobs, the Washington Post shines a spotlight on the dangers in the nursing profession, specifically around the violence that they encounter on the job. Citing a recent GAO report on violence in healthcare profession, the article notes that, “the rates of workplace violence in health care and social assistance settings are five to 12 times higher than the estimated rates for workers overall.”
Here's one excerpt from the article:
“In Massachusetts, Elise's Law, which is named for the nurse who was attacked in June, is already on the fast track to set state standards for workplace protection. Legislators were working on this months before Wilson was stabbed.
Nurses in Massachusetts were attacked more frequently than police or prison guards. When association members testified about the violence epidemic this spring, they said nurses had been threatened with scissors, pencils or pens, knives, guns, medical equipment and furniture in the past two years alone, according to the Massachusetts Nurses Association.”
OSHA reports that in surveys conducted by various nursing and healthcare groups:
21% of nurses and nursing students reported being physically assaulted and over 50% verbally abused in a 12-month period
12% of emergency department nurses experienced physical violence and 59% experienced verbal abuse during a seven-day period
13% of employees in Veterans Health Administration hospitals reported being assaulted in a year
While 26 states have workplace safety standards for health-care facilities, there are no federal standards. Nursing groups say that state efforts have helped increase awareness.
NIOSH worked with various partners – including nursing and labor organizations, academic groups, other government agencies, and Vida Health Communications, Inc. – to develop a free on-line course aimed at training nurses in recognizing and preventing workplace violence. The course has 13 units that take approximately 15 minutes each to complete and includes “resume-where-you-left-off” technology. Learn more about the courses at Free On-line Violence Prevention Training for Nurses and the actual course can be accessed here: Workplace Violence Prevention for Nurses CDC Course No. WB1865
Julie Ferguson has worked in marketing communications in the insurance industry for more than three decades. She founded Workers' Comp Insider in 2003, the nation's first insurance blog, in conjunction with Tom Lynch of Lynch Ryan. She has also worked with many other companies to launch successful blogs. Today she works as in independent marketing and social media consultant. She continues writing for Workers' Comp Insider and contributes to a number of other blogs.
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