Nurses are the people who take care of everyone before themselves; they assist doctors, help patients and advise loved ones about their relative’s health. However, more nurses are finding themselves needing care after workplace violence.

According to 2018 investigation, the rate of violence against nurses rose from 7.8 per 10,000 in 2016 to 8.8 in 2017 – the highest level since 2011. The data suggests that healthcare professionals are the most at the risk of assault in the workplace.

While more local hospitals continue efforts to reduce assaults, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration stopped its random inspections for violence due to “not enough problems to justify the practice.” Currently, OSHA responds after a workplace assault is reported and commits to keeping healthcare professionals safe in their work environment.

Ways to reduce the risk of assault

While assaults continue to increase, it’s critical for nurses to recognize the signs of a violent situation and resolve conflict without physical harm. Risk factors for violence include:

  • Volatile behaviors from a patient, especially those under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Overcrowding waiting rooms or long waiting periods for treatment
  • Understaffed areas, especially during peak visiting hours
  • Inadequate security
  • Working alone
  • Lack of training or policies to deal with unruly patients

These risks put nurses in danger of physical harm, so nurses need to be aware of signals associated with violence and evaluate the situation of potential violence when they enter a room or interact with a patient.

If nurses are attacked while working, they need to file an official report and seek medical attention. It seems natural to brush off a minor scrape with a patient, but it could be a significant risk to your health.