I have worked as a nurse for over four decades. Over the course of that time, I have witnessed and been a victim of workplace violence.
By 2008, I and some of my colleagues realized something had to be done to stop assault against healthcare workers.
In 2009, I co-founded the organization Stop Healthcare Violence, with the mission to educate and inform the public on the alarming epidemic of violence committed against healthcare personnel, provide support and advocacy for victims, and lobby for legislative change.
As an extension of this organization’s goals, I wrote this book to help my fellow nursing colleagues identify potentially dangerous situations, protect themselves, diminish incidents of healthcare violence, and understand something very important: being a victim of assault in the workplace is not acceptable, and it is not within your job description.
Did you get that?
Being a victim of assault in the workplace is not acceptable, and it is not within your job description.
It never was.
If you feel that it is part of your nursing responsibilities, please read that job description again.
Imagine this scenario…
You are Sally, a bank loan officer, discussing mortgage refinancing with Blake, your applicant. Displeased with the information you give him, Blake becomes enraged and spits in your face, curses viciously, and hurls a stapler at you.
Would this be okay?
Would you accept the incident, brush it aside, never reporting to security staff, bank management, local police?
Of course not.
Whether the stapler struck you in the face, grazed your arm, or missed you entirely, the answer would be no.
No, this would not be okay; no, you would never brush it aside; and no, your employer would never expect you to.
Yet nurses and healthcare workers are being assaulted on an ongoing and escalating basis, and only a few are identifying it as violence and treating it as wrong, criminal and stoppable.
In fact, a 2015 article in The Permanente Journal cited:
…workplace violence is increasing across the nation’s Emergency Departments (EDs) and nurses often perceive it as part of their job.
Well, guess what? Workplace violence is, indeed, increasing, not only in the ED, but in all aspects of nursing, and it’s not part of any job.