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January 3, 2016

Violence Against Healthcare Workers – A REAL Problem

By | Nursing | 6 Comments

In my former life, I was an ER Nurse.

Not the primary reason, but one of the reasons I stopped doing it was the constant possibility that I would be assaulted.  It happened several times during my ER career.  And nobody was EVER arrested.  EVER.

During one incident, I thought I was going to be arrested for insisting that the police officers enforce the law and take the patient to jail. The patient was a ‘suicide risk’.  Suicide watch is done in jail all the time.

Also, she only became a suicide risk after she punched me in the face. Prior to that, she was an upper respiratory infection who was being discharged. They decided that writing her a ticket for ‘Mental Health Court’ was enough. And then I had to care for her for five hours while we waited for mental health to clear her.

I beg to differ.hurt2

  •  If you are alert and oriented and you assault a Healthcare worker (HCW) you should get the same punishment you would get if you walked up to a police officer and punched him in the face. I can guarantee you that you would still go to jail whether you felt bad about yourself that day or not.
  • If you are drunk or high and assault a HCW, you should get the same punishment you would get if you were drunk or high and assaulted a police officer.
  • If you have a behavioral disorder, you are alert and oriented and you assault a HCW, you should get the same punishment you would get if you randomly assaulted a police officer.
  • If you have dementia, are disoriented for a medical reason, or are coming out of anesthesia and you assault a HCW, it happens.
  • If we filled you full of versed and fentanyl and you reach out and whack one of us, it happens.
  • If you are acutely psychotic and hit one of us while you are hallucinating, it happens.That doesn’t mean you get a break for having a mental health diagnosis while you are NOT acutely psychotic.

 

Your stories, randomly picked off ONE THREAD on Show Me Your Stethoscope.  You were comforting the writer of the first story:

 

  • Just got punched so hard by my patient without warning on my Right eye breaking my glasses then another punch on my face before I could get away.Patient was talking pleasantly and I tried to fix her heart monitor then Whammm? and patient just said I’m sorry, I have a behavioral problem. This is just one of the many challenges in our profession.???? I even asked the supervisor if the hospital will pay for my glasses. She said ” I doubt it.”
  • I could tell you so many stories from the twelve years I worked in the ER. It ranges from having my boobs grabbed, hands stuck between my legs, spit on, having my ponytail pulled… My coworker was knocked out cold by a patient with a rolling metal/steel pole we had our thermometers on (and she then became our patient as we had to C spine her). The doctor had to jump on her attacker’s back to get him down while we were calling 911 from the ER.
  • I had the same thing happen to me as a cna a few years back!!! A little 90 pound lady busted my nose and blacked both my eyes with one very manly punch to the face!!! While I had blood streaming out of my nose my nursing supervisor told me that I looked to be ok and could go back to work!!! So I worked out the rest of my shift not able to breath and was told that I would have to come back in the next day and file a claim and when I did I was told it had to be filed within the first two hours of injury therefore they wouldn’t be filing nor paying for any of my medical expenses!!! I ended up with permanent eye damage and now wear glasses because of it!!!
  • I got a colossal head butt that flipped my head back like a Pez dispenser. 2mos later still having arm pain and numbness in my hand. Again, claimed she had no control and I actually know better. I didn’t hesitate to get mad.
  • Similar happened years ago in ED…Pt had tried to hang himself and was escorted in to our ED. Hooked him up to the monitor, etc., and told him I wanted to lockup his personal belongings for safe keeping. As I was counting his money, in front of him, he cold-cocked me. Split lip required stitches. To this day, I wonder if I would’ve added more to the total money count if he would’ve been satisfied?!?

Perhaps since all of the states cannot protect us, a federal law is required? This is absolutely unbelievable.  If we worked in a store, a nightclub, or a factory, our assailants would immediately be arrested.  Why are we punching bags for our patients? Does the public know how we are treated? How can we make them aware?hurt3

Would you like to become involved with the necessary legislation in your state? Let me know. 

A fair outcome:

  • My husband is an ER nurse, last year he was kicked in the head by a female pt . The nurse across the hall heard it connect. He did file charges, and she went to jail.

 

There should be way more fair outcomes.

 

Do you have a story you would like to share about violence against HCW? Please comment here, or send mail to smysofficial@gmail.com

 

Love,

 

Janie

 

 

 

 

 

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2016 – The Year of the Nurse

By | Nursing | 17 Comments

Nurses got a ton of publicity in September 2015  because of the silly cast of a talk show.  Then 700k people clustered here to hang out and be nurses together. And now it is time to do something with that momentum.  And then there were arguments. And practice disagreements, and general ridiculousness.  The holidays are over, ladies and gentlemen. Argue on your own time.

Time to get to work.nursework

You already know that we can get things done if we do them together.  We adopted thirty christmas families, and kept a nursing student from being evicted.  We helped hashtag a little girl all the way to meeting Taylor Swift. We have work to do for OURSELVES.  We must advocate for Nurses to keep our patients safe.  No one is going to do this but us. It benefits no one but our patients for us to hold hospital organizations accountable for our staffing levels. Naturally, the general public has absolutely no idea about that.  When you don’t answer the call light immediately they figure you are filing your nails.  I have worked places where telling the patients you are understaffed is a firing offense.  I know a nurse who was fired for saying her department was understaffed on social media. What does that tell you? 

Perhaps your employer is not interested in safe staffing? Maybe they are only interested in their bottom line, their reputation with the community, and whether JCAHO notices that they are operating at a dangerous level. As long as you manage to barely get your patients taken care of and hit all of the core measures, they are safe. They do not give a single damn if you go to the bathroom, eat, or take a moment to sit.  They may demand that you clock out to finish charting, or threaten to write you up if you are ‘unable to manage your time effectively’ and continue charting on the clock.

And also, when you are understaffed and one of your patients dies, I hopesafe staffing you have personal liability insurance because they would much rather blame you, and not take the responsibility for unsafely staffing their facility.  I am sure the CEO won’t be able to hear the court case while he is in his vault counting his 3 million dollar salary.

Do I sound bitter?

Sorry about that. 

We have two jobs this year, in my estimation.

  1.  Educating the public about what nurses actually do.  We can do career days, SNA meetings, University events, and the million opportunities to educate that you will think of.
  2. We have to get started on the individual states to assess and change their policies toward safe staffing.  LONG TERM CARE is a huge issue.  If we cannot get it done at the state level, we are going to have to approach the federal government.  Perhaps Medicare would like to reduce reimbursement based on safe staffing rather than patient satisfaction?  I would bet the outcomes would be better.

Opinions? 

Make this the year we changed healthcare.  The year we made our patients safe, and the year we educated the public about nursing.

Will you commit to advancing your profession this year?

 

Love,

 

Janie

 

Also…..this is a link to some Safe Staffing Swag I made.

 

 

 

 

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