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How common is violence against nurses?

Connecticut’s nurses face some of the state’s most hazardous working conditions, and if you are among them, you may understand all too well that aches, pains and illness are all par for the course in your profession. While working around ailing or injured people presents obvious health hazards, today’s nurses are also increasingly facing another type of occupational hazard: violence.

According to Managed Care, more than a fifth of today’s nursing students and registered nurses attest that they have experienced on-the-job violence within the past year, with the violence coming from a number of different perpetrators. Often, those committing violence against nurses are patients or patient family members.

In some cases, patients lash out at nurses after they abuse drugs or alcohol, while in other cases, those behaving violently toward nurses have serious mental health conditions or have recently experienced a head injury. Other times, family members of patients are the ones to behave violently toward nurses, and this might occur because they are upset with the outcome of a particular procedure or because they disagree with a recommended course of treatment.

Other times, those committing violent acts against nurses are other employees or even law enforcement officials, though patients and patient family members are typically the most frequent assailants. While violence against nurses can occur in private practices, nursing homes and home health care settings, hospitals, in particular, are seeing a spike, with violence rates at private hospitals rising 110 percent between 2005 and 2014.

This information is educational in nature and not a substitute for legal advice.

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