In many professions, the vast majority of workplace injuries stem from accidents. A roofer slips and falls off of a roof because they don’t have adequate safety equipment. A construction worker is injured by power tools because someone else is using them incorrectly. People just make mistakes on the job and it leads to injuries.
But in the nursing profession, one of the biggest threats that nurses face is attacks from their own patients. It has been reported that violence against nurses has grown worse in recent years. One report from 2022 claimed that there were an average of two assaults against nurses every single hour in the United States – and that study had looked at statistics for an entire three months. It’s clear that this is a serious problem and a lot of injuries stem from it.
Why does it happen?
Often, people are just in a very emotional state when they’re in the hospital. One official pointed out that this high level of emotion could sometimes lead to violence if patients did not agree with nurses, did not like the treatment options they were being given, or something else of this nature. Essentially, they’re just in a stressful situation and so they are more prone to lash out emotionally if anything goes wrong.
But the report also noted that it wasn’t just the patients who were initiating these attacks. Some of them were carried out by visitors and even family members of these patients. The one clear trend that they did see is that men (whether patients or visitors) were far more likely to attack nurses than women were.
This is a very real risk that nurses face, and it’s important for them to understand how to seek workers’ comp benefits after an injury.