When you went to school to become a nurse, you may have done so because of an inherent desire to help others and serve your community. You may not have given much thought to whether becoming a nurse might expose you to violence. However, statistics show that the number of violent acts committed against nurses and other health care workers has risen rapidly in recent years.
Per Occupational Health and Safety, the rate of violence against nurses and health care workers has risen so much that some believe it has increased by as much as 110%.
Statistics on violence, assault of health care workers
Your risk of being a victim of violence in health care is highest if you are a nurse or nursing student. About 21% of nurses and nursing students say they have experienced physical assaults in health care settings. Emergency room nurses also experience high rates of violence. About 12% of them report having experienced physical violence on the job. Furthermore, 13% of all professionals who work in Veterans Health Administration hospitals say they, too, were victims of an assault at work.
The financial toll of violence in health care
While violence against nurses and other health care workers takes a physical and emotional toll, it also takes a financial one. Estimates suggest that it costs as much as $103,000 each time a nurse experiences assault after factoring in costs associated with helping the employee or finding a new one.
Safety advocates believe that encouraging health care workers to report incidents of violence is a critical step in reducing these incidents.