Health Care Employees Bear Brunt of Workplace Assaults, Research Finds

From “Health Care Employees Bear Brunt of Workplace Assaults, Research Finds”
ABC News (04/27/16) Winter, Gretchen. Published by ASIS.

A new article in the New England Journal of Medicine has revealed just how often health care workers face both verbal and physical violence in the workplace. The most common form of workplace violence in the health care setting is perpetrated by patients or visitors against health care providers, accounting for 75 percent of aggravated assaults, and 93 percent of all assaults against employees in hospitals, according to the findings. Lead author James Phillips, an attending physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Instructor at Harvard Medical School, reviewed prior studies of attacks and found that health care workers are almost four times as likely to miss work because of violence than from other injuries. One study revealed that 4.5 percent of violent health care incidents occur against emergency medical services providers. Ninety percent of the time, patients were the attackers in these incidents. The highest rates of abuse in hospitals are against nurses and nursing aides. One study found that 39 percent of nurses involved reported verbal assaults annually, while 13 percent reported physical abuse. About one in four emergency medicine doctors reported being physically assaulted in the prior year, and nearly four out of five reported some kind of workplace violence. One in 10 physicians experienced workplace violence each year between 1993 and 2001. Studies found that psychiatrists are at a particularly high risk, with 40 percent reporting physical attacks. Phillips’ article states that violence against health care workers goes grossly underreported. One survey used in the review found episodes of violence were only reported by 30 percent of nurses and 26 percent of doctors.

Author: Gregory Schmidt, PSP, CHPA-I

Gregory M. Schmidt, PSP, CHPA-I of Eagle/ Trident Security is a board certified Physical Security Professional who has over thirty years of experience developing dynamic security programs, plans and policies for businesses in Indiana and Florida. His conversation-style personal safety seminars are highly regarded and always in demand. Mr. Schmidt is a member of ASIS International, the International Association for Healthcare Security & Safety and the American Society for Healthcare Engineering.