Health care is a demanding career. If you work in a hospital, you will likely need to occasionally work on the weekend and cover holidays. You will work long shifts, sometimes with no breaks, and cope with extreme levels of job-related stress as your job performance could be life or death for a patient in some cases.
There are obviously many risks in a hospital environment. Workers can fall while rushing from one patient to the next. They could severely injure themselves trying to lift a patient. They could contract infectious diseases or get hurt by accidental contact with dangerous objects like scalpels.
Unfortunately, it is often the very people that medical professionals want to help that will put them at risk on the job.
Those who work in hospitals are at high risk of violence
Of course, many of the big risks in a hospital setting exist in other jobs as well. Falls can occur in any industry, as can overexertion. Many of the same risks, including the risk for violence, persist in almost all workplaces. However, a hospital worker’s risk for violence is significantly higher than the risk that people have in almost any other industry.
Hospital workers account for a majority of violent workplace incidents. In 2018, the most recent year with an analysis of workplace violence available, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that 73% of all nonfatal injuries caused by violence affected health care workers.
Why do patients turn violent?
There are numerous explanations for why hospital employees face such high rates of violence in the workplace.
Nurses and other employees may need to restrain someone having an adverse reaction to medication or suffering a psychotic episode. They have to provide treatment for arrested criminals who may want to use their time in the hospital as an opportunity for escape. They also provide care for individuals with age-related cognitive decline or mental health problems.
Hospital workers that get hurt on the job may need time off and medical care to fully recover from the injuries they suffered due to workplace violence. Learn more about job risks and workers’ compensation benefits.