Position Paper: Patient Violence against Nurses

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Position Paper

This paper is written with the main purpose to present a position on a very scary issue of patient violence against nurses. The main aim is to convince the readers and the entire audience that the position stated is valid. The discussion the paper will provide disapproves the traditional thought among the public that the nursing profession is a safe heaven and regarded as a place for protection and care. The discussion will form the foundation of my position on the existence of continual rise of patient violence in many healthcare facilities.

According to Royal College of Nursing (Great Britain), & National Collaborating Centre for Nursing and Supportive Care (Great Britain) (2006),the venues with the highest probability of violence in hospitals include the emergency departments, facilities of psychiatry, home offices, private offices of the outpatient, forensic settings, community centers for mental health, clinics for outpatients and general hospitals.

Violence of the patients to the nurses takes many forms. According to Conroy & Murrie, (2007), they include physical, harassment, threats, stalking, frivolous lawsuits, scurrilous and false accusations, complaints to licensure medical boards, vandalism, excessive or abusive letters and phone calls, obscene or threatening mails, loitering, trespassing, home visits and drive-by, display  of knowing of the  personal life  of the nurse. Many cases are being reported on violent crimes such as rape, assaults and homicides especially in the emergency departments and the psychiatry facilities with nurses as the main targets (Tardiff, 1999).

Statistical research

Patient violence against nurses has been a thorny issue in the health sector. Eichelman & Hartwig (1995) gives an overview of the issue when they document the survey done in 2011 by the American nurses association. From the survey, the numbers of registered nurses who have reported cases of assault by the patients were 34%. This represented a rise in assault from 25 % in the year 2001. More shocking results indicate that from the statistics of the government, eight nurses were reported killed in the work place from the year 2003 to the year 2009. In addition to that, 2050 more incidences were reported by the nurses and involved violent assault and harassment (Eichelman & Hartwig, 1995).

Similarly, the report of Bureau of Labor Statistics of 2006 indicates that 60% of the assaults in work place took place in the healthcare and most of them were as a result of the patient’s violence (Crichton, 1995). Moreover, the occupations of the healthcare support had a 20.4% injury rate due to assaults and the practitioners of the healthcare had a 6.1% rate. This is just the results from the reported cases and this figure could be large due to underreporting form the nurses due to the general perception that the assaults forms the part of work in the nursing profession (Babich, 1981). My argument from these statistics is that the nurses and the healthcare practitioners in the health profession faces a monster of a problem which is underrated but affects their performance in their bid to deliver services to the patients.

The issue of the patient violence is further validated by Richter& Whittington (2006) when they point out that the nurses in the emergency departments of the hospitals experience the highest rate of physical assault. Furthermore, Richter & Whittington (2006) observes that 28% of nurses working in the emergence departments reported that they have been victims of physical assault for the past one year.

Violence in Emergency Departments

In the hospital set up, patient violence to the nurses is a great issue that needs to be discussed soberly. Eichelman & Hartwig (1995) points out that the studies conducted by many bodies indicates that the nurses and other healthcare professional assigned in the emergency departments experience the highest level of violent patients. This is because evaluation and treatment of the violent patients that are of high risk are initially done at the emergency department. Furthermore, the patients brought by the police often in handcuffs are directed to the emergency department.

Crichton (1995) observes that the emergency department is always open to the public and therefore the population of the patients and the third parties accompanying the patients are in most cases not screened for violence potential. Furthermore, therapeutic alliance to mitigate the violent impulses of the patients is not always present. Therefore, the patient may view the nurse at the emergency department as an enemy and not as a medic trying to help.

Babich, (1981) points out a research which was done in Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit for six months. The research entailed screening of the patients at the emergency department by magnetometer. The shocking results revealed that 33 handguns, 97 sprays of mace type and 1324 knives were discovered (Babich, 1981). This clearly validates the argument of the potential violence.............


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