Based on data from three months of 2022, violence against nurses remains high – and it may be higher than it was before the pandemic.
“As we saw, as with a lot of stresses on the RN profession during the pandemic, it amplified everything,” commented one nursing director to MedPage Today.
Between April and June of 2022, there were 5,217 assaults on nurses at the 483 facilities studied. That’s the equivalent of two assaults on nurses every hour of the day.
Patients are the group most likely to attack nurses, the analysis found, but nurses were assaulted by a range of people from patients’ family members to visitors and even their co-workers. The majority of attackers were men.
The practice areas where nurses were most likely to be assaulted were emergency medicine and psychiatric care. However, assaults on nurses were also common in pediatric surgery, burn and rehabilitation units.
That nursing director doesn’t find that surprising, either, because parents of sick children are under tremendous pressure. “You get a lot of heavy emotion, which sadly sometimes manifests itself in a lot of verbal violence for sure and sometimes, sadly, physical violence,” she said.
A 2021 report indicated that workplace violence in social assistance and healthcare settings has nearly doubled since 2010.
According to the U.S. Burau of Labor Statistics, the top occupations experiencing workplace violence in 2019 were:
- Nursing assistants
- Psychiatric aides
- Home health and personal care aides
- Registered nurses
Treatment for your injuries and trauma is generally covered by workers’ comp
Workplace violence is not your fault. It is a common hazard of the nursing profession. The good news is that the care you need after a workplace assault is generally covered by workers’ compensation.
This includes treatment for your physical injuries and appropriate mental health treatment. Workers’ comp also provides partial wage replacement if you have to miss work because of the assault.
You do not have to prove that your employer was negligent. Workers’ comp is a no-fault system. If you’re hurt at work and you’re covered by workers’ comp (and almost everyone is), you have a workers’ compensation claim.