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The Growing Problem Of Violence Against Healthcare Workers

Yelled at. Spat on. Hit. Pushed.

For far too many healthcare professionals, these acts of aggression are sadly just another day at the office.

Maintaining safety in the workplace requires proactive steps. Yet, for healthcare workers, nothing can account for the violently reactive nature of their patients. Focusing on the well-being of those they care for often puts these dedicated professionals in the line of fire.

From 2002 to 2013, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) revealed that serious workplace violence in the healthcare industry requiring time off was four times as common as private industry. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that out of 18,400 injuries that occurred in private industry, 71 percent were found in medical facilities, many by assault.

Those statistics do not take into account the number of unreported cases.

Medical facilities are in the difficult position of prioritizing these security fears with accessible facilities for patients who need care and want to spend time with family members. While panic buttons, security cameras and even a police presence help, a split-second assault can cause injury within the seconds it takes for help to arrive.

Those on the front line refer to it as a fundamental problem. Other professionals fear that it is a growing epidemic. Violent acts – many involving weapons – and verbal abuse against healthcare workers seem to be more the rule than the exception.

Should the trend of attacks continue, quality professionals in this industry will find another line of work while budding students looking forward to a career in medicine may look somewhere else.

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