Health Care Workers Experience Surge in Workplace Violence

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Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers discuss health care workers and a surge in workplace violence.Doctors, nurses, physicians’ assistants, orderlies, and other health care workers dedicate themselves to providing the best care possible for their patients. Oftentimes, they work long hours in emergency rooms, hospital wards, and clinics, where they are exposed to a range of infections and serious illnesses, some of which are highly contagious. Unfortunately, they are also exposed to a disturbing rise in physical violence in the workplace. In fact, one report referred to the issue of violence in the health care setting as a silent epidemic. In addition to the physical injuries, workplace violence causes stress, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

There are a number of factors that may be contributing to this surge of violence against health care workers. Nurses deal with patients and their families who are often experiencing a physical or emotional crisis. In some cases, patients may lash out in response to being in physical pain, or to devastating news about their health. Health care providers must also interact with people from different social and economic groups, some of whom do not have insurance and cannot afford health care. Even people who have insurance often have high deductibles and out-of-pocket costs that can be financially devastating. Anger, frustration, and stress can cause people to become violent.

Alarming Statistics of Workplace Violence in the Health Care Industry

According to the American Nurses Association (ANA), 25 percent of nurses are assaulted at work on any given day. The following are additional statistics about violence in the health care industry:

  • Workplace violence was responsible for 13 percent of lost workdays in the health care and social assistance sectors in 2013.
  • Approximately 75 percent of workplace violence occurs in the health care and social services industry.
  • The National Crime Victimization Survey found that health care workers are 20 percent more likely to be victims of workplace violence compared to other workers.
  • According to the American College of Emergency Physicians, 47 percent of emergency physicians were assaulted while on the job, and more than 70 percent said that they had witnessed an assault in the workplace.

An article on the World Socialist Website (WSW) revealed that nurses must often work under extreme and intolerable conditions, which can turn violent under certain circumstances. For some nurses, this had a significant impact on their emotional and mental health. Some have contemplated self-harm and suicide. Others have followed through on it. The author of the article said that a doctor, a respiratory therapist, and a dietitian had committed suicide since she started working at her hospital.

All health care workers are entitled to safe work conditions. Health care facilities should provide safety training and ensure that protocols are in place to protect nurses and other health care workers in the event that a patient or family member becomes violent.

Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Victims of Workplace Violence

If you were the victim of workplace violence, resulting in a serious injury, you are urged to contact the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton as soon as possible. You deserve to work in an environment where your health and safety is a priority. We will walk you through the claims process and ensure that you receive the full financial benefits you deserve. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online. Located in Baltimore, we serve clients throughout Maryland.