People who do not work in the medical field might not expect some of the hazards nurses are exposed to while on the job. Nurses in Louisiana hospitals sometimes experience back strains from lifting patients and other similar work-related injuries, but the biggest danger workers in this field face is violence, primarily from patients.
Healthcare violence causes almost the same amount of injuries as from all other occupations combined. Between 15,000 and 20,000 injuries happened yearly from 2011 to 2013. These instances only represent the occasions when the damage was serious enough to require recovery time and days off work, so the actual number is likely to be larger.
Common instances of violence nurses and other healthcare professionals are subject to include being knocked unconscious, punched, groped, bitten and jumped from behind. 33 states have made it a felony instead of misdemeanor to attack healthcare workers.
Those advocating to stop the problem of healthcare violence say that reporting attacks is important. Some people do not speak up because they want to protect patients with mental disorders while others are afraid they will lose their jobs for complaining. Support from management is also needed to stop these acts. Harsher penalties can only do so much to prevent violence, but hospitals could develop and implement protection plans to reduce attacks.
Unfortunately, this type of behavior is seen as common by many in the field. While some injuries are unavoidable in any industry, a problem may exist because of how employers view incidents. Employers must take reasonable steps to prevent employee injuries, but they might not take all the necessary precautions. People who have been harmed as a result of this kind of lax attitude toward workplace safety might want to meet with an attorney to see if there are other alternatives to filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits.