Protecting nurses from assault by patients
It is a little-known fact that many nurses suffer injury as a result of physical attacks by mentally ill or temporarily disoriented patients. Psychiatric nurses and care workers in nursing homes are particularly at risk. 25 of every 10,000 full-time personal care workers suffer some such injury each year. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration believes that many incidents go unreported--resulting in an even higher actual rate of injury. Nursing organizations believe that shortages and planned under-staffing make the risk of injury even higher. A study in Minnesota reported that during the previous calendar year some 13 percent of nurses had been physically attacked, battered or struck, while 39 percent had been threatened or intimidated on at least one occasion. A study by the Emergency Nurses Association reported that 86 percent of ER nurses had been physically assaulted by patients or family members during the prior three years.