Workplace Violence and Safety
Prevention of Assault and Battery Against Health Care Workers in a New Mexico Emergency DepartmentYou see security running through your emergency department, hear screaming and staff members talking, and are wondering what has happened now. You later find out that one of your fellow staff members was attacked and beaten by a patient. Legal charges are filed against the patient for assault, but the charges are dropped and the patient is set free. A patient’s family member attacks another staff member. A registered nurse is sprayed with mace after caring for a small child. Later the assailant is found to have a pair of scissors in her possession, which she intended to use as well.
Preventing Staff Injuries From ViolenceThis past summer, a pregnant emergency nurse was severely beaten by a mentally ill patient while she was providing care for another patient. She was knocked unconscious and required hospitalization. Another nurse was exposed to pepper spray that was in a patient's purse and required treatment. These examples bring attention once again to the issue of workplace violence and the need for emergency departments to develop methods to prevent injuries to staff and patients. These particular incidents were reported on the Internet, but many incidents continue to go unreported.