ED Nurses Still Wear a Bullseye for Workplace Abuse
It gets worse. The study found that in 47% of the cases of physical violence, no action was taken against the perpetrator. In other words, they got away with assault once. So, they'll probably do it again.
And, worst of all, in 72% of cases, nurses received no response from hospital leadership about the assault. This is astonishing and utterly inexcusable. How can senior leadership in any organization—from a hospital to a tire plant—not make a personal and immediate inquiry into the health and well-being of an employee who was assaulted on the job? If this is the policy at your hospital, change it.
Ignoring injured employees will make senior leadership appear callous and indifferent, and that would be correct.
"The key for senior administrators to recognize is the high-level buy-in, and the high-level visibility," Papa says. It's not just the name on a piece of paper and a note. It's that personal phone call and personally reaching out. "That call alone makes the nurse or the healthcare worker feel valued, knowing that leadership is watching this, and they are working to make changes."
It's also a dumb business practice to ignore the plight of injured employees in this era of high employee turnover and widespread labor shortages, especially for nurses. The survey found that 37% of emergency nurses have considered leaving their job because of the violence.
Here are two points we can take away from this survey: First, nurses must make a formal report when they are the victims of assault, especially physical assaults. If they don't report it, it will happen again to someone else, perhaps a colleague. Secondly, leadership needs to reach out to any employees who are the victims of assault.
That is just basic decency.
John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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