A few weeks ago, while watching The O’Reilly Factor, I saw a segment in which Mr. O’Reilly labeled the violence directed toward school teachers by students a “Silent National Crisis”. Troubled by any violence towards innocence I looked up the numbers to Mr. O’Reilly’s claims. To my surprise, although tragic and an issue that needs to be investigated and resolved, teacher directed violence by students is dwarfed by healthcare directed violence which has been well document, for decades, by many agencies, both private and government, yet little has changed, and if anything, it has gotten worse. On top of that, it is schools that have zero-tolerance policies, not healthcare. Because in healthcare, where administrators consider conflicts between customer satisfaction and healthcare workers a threat to customer retention, most believe that violence is part of our job.
Since Mr. O’Reilly was troubled by violence directed towards innocence, labeling the teacher directed violence as a “Silent National Crisis”, and with his motto being that he is “looking out for you” I thought I would reach out to him. Because, although violence directed towards school teachers is tragic and troubling, healthcare directed violence is far more frequent, more violent and getting worse, exponentially, thus easily a greater crisis. And because of that, I sent him the email below, hoping Mr. O’Reilly would consider healthcare a “Silent National Crisis” as well.
Violence should never be tolerated. However, our nation's "Silent National Crisis" is healthcare directed violence and not what is happening in our classrooms. I AM A NURSE!
#Every year 7% of teachers are threatened with injury and every year 3% are physically attacked by students.
#Healthcare leads ALL industries in physical workplace violence.[2,3]
#Hospitals are not required to report cases of violence, however, 1 out of 9 emergency department nurses said they were physically assaulted on the job in the past week alone.
#Healthcare industry is its own worse enemy due healthcare directed violence, if it exist, is seen as part of the job!
#Healthcare workers are also grappling with online threats to their safety/reputation.
#The rate of assaults on workers in US is 4x higher for healthcare workers.
#Almost 50% of all workplace non-fatal assaults in the US were caused by patients (2009).
#More than 50% of emergency department nurses had experienced violence by patients and more than 25% had 20 or more violent incidents in the past 3yrs (2009).
#Yet healthcare facilities reported 33 violent incidents in 2009. Likely due to a healthcare culture resistant to the notion that healthcare providers are at risk for patient-related violence with complacency that violence (if it exist) is part of the job!
#Healthcare workers are 16x more likely to be attacked on the job than any other service professional.
#Yet 80% of incidents go unreported.
#In 2010, more than 50% of emergency department nurses had been spit on, pushed, scratched and/or verbally assaulted at work.
#These incidents are not just in psychiatric units. Patients and visitors of patients are attacking healthcare workers in emergency departments, intensive care units, and maternity wards.
#Verbal threats towards healthcare workers are the most common form of work-related violence, followed by, 28% were victims of physical assault, 12% were confronted outside facilities, and 4% were stalked.
#According to the US Dept. of Justice, each year 500,000 nurses are victims of violent crimes in the workplace.
#Between 8-13% emergency department nurses are victims of physical violence every week!
#At the end of this reference it lists 55 "anecdotes" (as healthcare administrators like to call them) of healthcare facility incidents between Feb 2010 and 16 Feb 2011 (one of them a 85 yr/old who opened fire with a revolver and wounded a nurse).
Read those 55 "anecdotes" and likely you will agree that healthcare directed violence not only needs to be addressed but can easily be called the “Silent National Crisis”.
None of the above "anecdotes" or statistics are new to anyone. And despite a number of professional and government agencies claiming guidelines and recommendations have been implemented, the only thing that has changed is that the acts of violence directed towards healthcare workers have become more brazen, more frequent and more violent.