Mayo urges respect for healthcare workers amid increase in patient hostility

Mayo Clinic Health System in La Crosse, Wis., which serves Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa, is asking for respect and patience from patients amid an increase in hostility toward healthcare workers, according to the La Crosse Tribune.

Across the country, hospitals and health systems have seen increased incidents of workplace violence and harassment against healthcare workers. Mayo Clinic Health System workers in La Crosse, Wis., are no exception.

LeighAnn Gooden, DO, an emergency medicine physician in La Crosse, told the Tribune patients and healthcare workers should show respect toward each other, but sometimes expectations or demands for a patient or their loved one "don't necessarily align with appropriate medical care or what might be in the[ir] best interest," which can at times result in hostility.

Renee Groth, MSN, RN, Mayo nurse manager, also spoke about the issue, telling the newspaper that patients are "increasingly becoming a little bit more demanding," and sometimes they "cross the line, where they start getting a little bit more violent in how they speak with us and how they ask what they would like." This could include swearing, derogatory comments or yelling.

Dr. Gooden and Ms. Groth said hostility, whether physical, verbal, nonverbal or emotional, can cause healthcare workers to lose joy and motivation to do their work.

The increase in hostility against healthcare workers comes during especially challenging times as many hospitals grapple with significant staffing strain related to the pandemic. Lawmakers in some states are already acting to better protect healthcare workers through legislation. This includes Wisconsin, where lawmakers are introducing a bill to make battery and threats of violence against healthcare workers a felony, according to the Wisconsin State Journal

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