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Why is violence such a threat to nurses and healthcare workers?

Healthcare facilities are places where people go to get treatment for illnesses and to heal. They are not generally places that people associate with acts of violence. However, violence is a growing concern for those who work in the healthcare industry.

Why is violence such a threat to nurses and other healthcare workers in Ohio, whether they work at a large, world-class facility such as the Cleveland Clinic or at a smaller facility?

Patient emotions can run high

Healthcare workers are often bearers of bad news, whether to family members of a patient or the patient themselves. Patients may receive news that their illness is progressing more quickly than they expected, and they may take their frustration out on those providing their care.

Family members of patients who learn that their loved one just passed away may feel that healthcare staff did not do enough to save their loved one and react violently when in that highly emotive state.

Nurses have access to addictive substances

Hospitals give nurses access to prescription medications to help control any pain that a patient might experience. However, the access that healthcare workers have put them at greater risk of receiving an attack by a patient who wants more medication. In addition, someone from outside of the hospital experiencing addiction may enter the facility with the intention of forcefully acquiring more of a particular substance.

Healthcare workers harmed by violence on the job are eligible to receive workers’ compensation. Along with being aware of the risks associated with the profession, nurses should know what rights they have if affected by violence.