Strategies for Managing Violence Against ED Personnel

[polldaddy poll=7143096] According to published data, about one in four emergency physicians (EPs) and nurses report that they were victims of physical assault in the past year. A recent study found that as many as 78% of EPs reported at least one act of physical or verbal aggression in the previous year, and 21% reported more than one episode. Another analysis revealed that before completion of training, more than 50% of emergency medicine residents had been physically hit or pushed by patients. Fear of assault or being shot was their second-leading concern, trailing only needlestick injuries from patients with HIV. EDs have been identified as high-risk settings for workplace violence (WPV), says Terry Kowalenko, MD. “In addition to the immediate concern of personal safety, WPV can decrease productivity and job satisfaction and contribute to the problem of early burnout. The toll of WPV may be even higher for non-physician staff. What’s clear is that data from recent reports on WPV are concerning, as the threat of violence in EDs is escalating throughout the United States.” A Call to Action: Preventing Violence in Healthcare Several organizations, most notably the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), have recently issued a call to action to improve initiatives aimed at preventing violence in healthcare settings. In the Journal of Emergency Medicine, Dr. Kowalenko and colleagues had an analysis published that reviewed ED workplace violence in the context of risk factors for WPV. The study also reviewed current concepts for interventions designed to prevent WPV in the ED. “The reasons behind WPV in the ED are multifactorial,” explains Dr. Kowalenko. “Factors such as mental...