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More Than Half of Emergency Department Nurses Have Been Physically Assaulted at Work, New Study Finds
Date:7/28/2009

DES PLAINES, Ill., July 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Our nation's emergency departments are places to receive treatment for injuries, but for thousands of nurses, emergency departments are the sources of injury. A new study by the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) finds that more than half of emergency nurses report experiencing physical violence on the job, including as being "spit on," "hit," "pushed or shoved," "scratched," and "kicked." One in four has experienced such violence more than 20 times in the past three years. Just as alarming, one in five nurses have experienced verbal abuse more than 200 times during the same period.

"People who work in helping professions shouldn't have to put their physical and emotional well-being on hold to do their jobs," said ENA President Bill Briggs, RN, MSN, CEN, FAEN. "Emergency nurses provide crucial health care services. Their departments and their hospitals depend on them being able to deliver high quality care. They can't do that if they're in danger of being verbally or physically abused."

More than half of the nurses surveyed for Violence Against Nurses Working in U.S. Emergency Departments, cited one or more of the following as precipitating factors when they experienced abuse: patients or visitors under the influence of alcohol or illicit drugs; psychiatric patients being treated in the emergency department; crowding; prolonged wait times; and shortage of emergency department nurses. Research indicates that such situations can cause frustration and feelings of vulnerability, which may result in physical and verbal abuse against emergency department staff.

More than two in three (67 percent) of emergency nurses rated their perception of safety in the emergency department at five or lower on a ten point scale and one in three said she or he had considered leaving her or his department or emergency nursing altogether b
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SOURCE Emergency Nurses Association
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