Hospitals Not Providing Enough Protection Against Attacks on Staff

At a time when more patients are visiting EDs, a focal point of violence against hospital staff, hospitals have been cutting back on security personnel, according to a report by the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Nurses have the third highest likelihood of being assaulted on the job, after police and correctional officers, the U.S. Department of Labor reports, noting there were 38 incidents of violent assaults per 10,000 "nurses aides" in 2009.

The Emergency Nurses Association reported 8-13 percent of ED nurses are victims of physical violence every week. An ED survey found most of the violence is by patients or their families against nurses and other staff. Nurses often do not report the attacks.

Apparently referring to the ENA report, the Inquirer stated: "Many hospitals don't have complete safety plans that include adequate staffing, consistent and frequent use of security wands and metal detectors, training in violence de-escalation, safety committees with worker representation, emergency-drill sessions and analysis of unsafe conditions."

The news paper observed that "unemployment and the economy has exacerbated stress among the general population, with that tension manifesting itself in hospitals, where frustrated patients and their families waiting longer for treatment tend to lash out at staff members."

Read the Philadelphia Inquirer report on nurses.

Read more coverage on violence in hospitals.

-Hospitals Facing Spate of Fatal Shootings, But Most Still Don't Use Metal Detectors

-Johns Hopkins' Urban Health Program Gaining Momentum

-CEO of Alaska Hospital Discusses Challenges

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