ED Violence Racks Up Huge Costs

Alexandra Wilson Pecci, for HealthLeaders Media , February 11, 2014

"An assault on a nurse is considered part of the job by the nurses themselves, the nurse leaders, and also by law enforcement," Brecher says. "From a nursing leadership perspective, understanding that that's the culture we are living in right now is key to making a difference.

A new ENA-sponsored study of assaults on emergency nurses [PDF] found a need to radically change this "culture of acceptance." The study, published in the Journal of Emergency Nursing, also showed a need to better train nurses about recognizing situations that might turn violent.

"When we look at violence in general, we don't like to talk about it as a society. Culturally, even outside the ED, we've turned to violence as an acceptable way of expressing your frustration," Brecher says.

In hospitals, a culture of safety needs to start from at the top, which means the entire organization should be supportive of nurses.

"We know from our studies that the one thing that seems to have the biggest impact on decreasing violence in the workplace is a zero-tolerance policy," Brecher says. If violence does occur, the entire organization—including the administration—should support nurses in whatever action they choose to take, such as calling 911 or pressing charges.

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1 comments on "ED Violence Racks Up Huge Costs"

Marilyn Kirchner (2/18/2014 at 10:43 AM)
Reading your article regarding violence in the ER struck home. I was assaulted by a patient, knocked unconscious and the same culture of "part of the job" prevailed. My interaction with this patient was only seconds, he looked passive and there had been no mention of potential violence. I over heard the administrator asking "what I did to rile him", I felt assaulted all over again. I am retired now, miss nursing greatly, but our society has fostered this violent culture many patients are literally given a "free pass" since they hide behind their persona of a patient. There is no impulse control due to much lack of parenting, but the nurse should not be the punching bag. I applaud and strongly urge any legislation which would protect ALL medical personnel, and I agree it MUST start at the top with demonstrated "zero tolerance" not just lip-service.




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