The arrest of a nurse who refused to allow a police officer to draw blood on a comatose patient a few years ago brought national attention to the subject of violence against nurses and initiated a conversation about the dangers that many nurses and other members of the health care community face in their everyday lives. Unfortunately, some statistics shed an alarming light on the possibility of nurses becoming injured on the job. Advocates in Pennsylvania and across the country argue that because the nursing field is primarily female, the rate of injury may not be receiving an appropriate amount of attention from legislators.
In recent months, nurses in other states suffered serious harm while on the job. One nurse was pushed down the steps by someone arguing with staff. Another nurse suffered multiple stab wounds by a patient who was not happy with the care he received. In another situation, two nurses were taken hostage by an inmate, and one of them was sexually assaulted and beaten.
While incidents of workplace violence against health care providers are prevalent, nurses also suffer on-the-job injuries not related to such attacks. Some reports indicate that lifting and moving patients often leave those in this profession suffering from more injuries than those who work in construction. Despite the prevalence of injuries, many workers are still fighting for protections, some as simple as better lighting and bolting down furniture so it cannot be used as a weapon.
While over half of states have safety standards specifically for health care facilities in place, many advocates are pushing for broad, federal standards. Referring specifically to attacks, over three quarters of nurses who responded to a survey indicated they had been a victim of workplace violence. While efforts are being made to create additional measures to protect workers, those injured on the job in Pennsylvania and across the country are likely entitled to workers' compensation insurance benefits, which can provide for lost wages and medical expenses. An attorney with experience with such cases can help injured nurses seek the compensation they deserve.
Source: watertowndailytimes.com, "Do you know one of America's most dangerous jobs?", Petula Dvorak, Sept. 17, 2017