Nurses: Be aware of workplace violence

  • When individuals think of workplace injuries, they often think of the most common injuries, such as muscle strains, broken bones or other orthopedic injuries.

    Injuries from violence or assault are rarely the kind of injuries workers think to worry about. And yet, they are shockingly common, especially in the healthcare field.

    Workplace violence is too frequent for nurses

    Nurses vow to take on the duty to help and care for those in need. Therefore, they know about the potential risks they are signing up for when they choose this job.

    However, workplace violence is becoming an increasing threat for nurses. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, all occupations report that 4.2% of annual workplace injuries are the result of workplace violence. Meanwhile, that percentage jumps up to 12.2% for just registered nurses alone each year. And, unfortunately, many incidents go unreported. These statistics might not even be accurate.

    On average, one in four nurses suffers serious injuries from physical assaults in the course of their work. Their risk is so high because their work might bring them face to face with:

    • Violent or unstable patients;
    • Confused or stressed patients; or
    • Even violent co-workers.

    This is an alarming statistic, but all North Carolina nurses must be aware of the risks they face.

    How can nurses stay safe?

    Suffering an injury because of workplace violence does not prevent nurses from pursuing workers’ compensation. These injuries are still considered workplace injuries. However, nurses can take action to improve their safety in the workplace, including:

    • Obtaining proper safety training from their employer;
    • Avoiding being alone with patients or in new locations;
    • Ensuring their workplace is properly secured; and
    • Always staying alert.

    The first step to mitigating the risk is knowing about it. Nurses may understand the risks they face in the workplace, but they must be vigilant to avoid these risky situations.

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