The general public views healthcare settings as a place to get better health wise. But behind the scenes, violence often happens that goes unreported.
Workplace violence is rampant in healthcare but several factors make the problem difficult to assess and solve, according to a new article in the New England Journal of Medicine.
“Healthcare workplace violence is an underreported, ubiquitous and persistent problem that has been tolerated and largely ignored,” writes James Phillips, M.D., of Harvard Medical School and the Department of Emergency Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.
“Workplace violence with nurses, physicians and other healthcare workers is a much bigger problem than the general public knows,” Phillips told Medscape Medical News. “Healthcare providers also seem to be unaware of the extent of the violence.”
But based on his research, Phillips said the problem is getting worse and healthcare workers are approximately four times as likely to miss work because of violence than from other injuries. Although killings are rare, verbal and physical attacks are common.
Other startling statistics:
- Almost 75 percent of all workplace assaults between 2011 and 2013 happened in healthcare settings
- 80 percent of emergency medical workers will experience physical violence during their careers but less than half will report the incidents to police
- Thirty-nine percent of nurses reported verbal assaults each year and 13 percent report physical abuse
- 70 percent of staff members in mental health settings are physically assaulted each year
Information via Fierce Healthcare