Despite relatively high rates of workplace violence, most emergency-room nurses didn't formally report on-the-job assaults against them, according to a survey of members of the Emergency Nurses Association.
Most ER nurses skip formal assault reports: survey
About 66% of nurses in the survey said they didn’t file formal reports about physical violence against them, though the association’s study noted that the same percentage did mention the assaults to hospital security guards or their immediate supervisor.
AnnMarie Papa, president of the association, said the survey results agree with the findings of other researchers that the presence of zero-tolerance policies for violence in hospitals was correlated with lower overall rates of assaults. Such policies typically include a requirement that assaults be reported to police and reviewed by hospital committees.
In an interview for an Oct. 17 story in Modern Healthcare about hospital violence, Papa said nurses should have seats on the multi-disciplinary teams in hospitals that address violence. In addition to crafting zero-tolerance policies, such committees can help with basic tasks like establishing a common language for communicating incidents, such as declaring that a “Code Silver” call means an assault has just occurred.
“When we have a cardiac arrest or a multiple trauma come into the hospital, there is an organized approach. It is multi-disciplinary, and everyone is speaking the same language,” Papa said. “When you have something like this, with a violent patient, you have many disciplines working together but they are all speaking a different language.”
Overall the survey found that between January 2010 and January 2011 (PDF), 13% of nurses who responded to the association’s survey reported a physical assault in the past week. The study included survey data from 3,958 respondents, or 11% of nurses who were asked to respond.
Send us a letter
Have an opinion about this story? Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor, and we may publish it in print.