When patients turn violent, hospital employees fear for their jobs and their safety

Healthcare workers suffer assaultive injuries on the job at a rate equal to workers in all other industries combined. Hospital patients are the most common assailants, while family members are the runners-up. An “All Things Considered” segment took a look at the problem.

Among the sources the NPR reporter spoke with is Michelle Mahon, RN, a leader of the labor group National Nurses United. She said a complicating factor is a code of silence in healthcare that’s perpetuated by the fear of getting fired.  

“In some cases, unfortunately, [nurses] are treated as if they are the ones who don’t know how to do their job. Or that it’s their fault that this happened,” Mahon said, adding that commonly taught de-escalation techniques are sometimes used to blame the victims.

The piece cites a poll by the American College of Emergency Physicians in which almost half of respondents said they had been physically assaulted.

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