WAUSAU, WI (OnFocus) – Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, another surging issue has been sweeping the country, specifically in hospitals. Within the past few years, hospitals and health systems have seen an increase in violence against healthcare workers.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines workplace violence as “the act or threat of violence, ranging from verbal abuse to physical assaults that is directed toward people at work or on duty”. In a three year span, healthcare workers and social services accounted for around 70 percent of the nearly 25,000 workplace assaults reported each year.
Today is Hospitals Against Violence Day. It’s a day to bring awareness to violence against healthcare workers and highlight how America’s hospitals and health systems combat violence in their workplaces and communities.
Violence against healthcare workers occurs in all types of settings, from busy emergency rooms and surgery centers to walk-in clinics and nursing homes. Unfortunately, due to the long-standing history in the industry, incident and assaults are too often perceived to be just “part of the job”. These instances of violence can also lead to a heavy physical, emotional and mental toll, including post-traumatic stress disorder, an increased risk of burnout and depression.
“Many healthcare workers have experienced some form of workplace violence and when individuals start to experience assaults on a regular basis, it can take a toll on them. While perceived as part of the job, it certainly shouldn’t be tolerated,” says Robin Rudie, Aspirus Chief Nursing Officer.
According to the National Library of Medicine, 65 percent of nurses experienced workplace violence over the past year. Whether it be verbal abuse, threatening behavior, sexual harassment, or physical assault, many incidents (46 percent) are never even reported.
Healthcare workers feel compassion and empathy for those entering the hospital, knowing that they may be experiencing difficult times. However, as healthcare workers continue to support and care for their community, it’s important that individuals show kindness and understanding as they do their jobs to the best of their ability.
“Nurses here have a lot of compassion for their patients. We see them on their worst days, and often while they are still processing some life-changing or devastating news. This can cause a lot of emotions for patients and their families, which can make them want to lash out,” says Lindsey Graff, Aspirus Clinical Outcomes Nurse.
Aspirus takes workplace violence events seriously and encourages employees to report any incidents to include verbal, physical and mental abuse. There are several internal employee assistance services for those seeking help.
Aspirus desires to create a safe environment for all healthcare workers, patients and visitors. We continue to support our employees and encourage others to show kindness to the healthcare workers in their community, even during difficult times.
Submitted piece, June 3. We welcome your stories! Contact us at [email protected]!