Violence against Health Care Workers – NOW@NEJM

Rothaus, C. Now@NEJM Blog. Published online: April 28th, 2016

Health care workplace violence is an underreported, ubiquitous, and persistent problem that has been tolerated and largely ignored. According to the Joint Commission, a major accrediting body for health care organizations, institutions that were once considered to be safe havens are now confronting “steadily increasing rates of crime, including violent crimes such as assault, rape, and homicide.” Although metal detectors may theoretically mitigate violence in the health care workplace, there is no concrete evidence to support this expectation.

Violence against health care professionals in the workplace is underreported and understudied. Additional data are needed to understand steps that might be taken to reduce the risk. A new Review Article summarizes.

violence
Image source: Now@NEJM

Clinical Pearl

• Which one of the four categories of workplace violence is most common in the health care setting?

Experts have classified workplace violence into four types on the basis of the relationship between the perpetrator and the workplace itself. Most common to the health care setting is a situation in which the perpetrator has a legitimate relationship with the business and becomes violent while being served by the business (categorized as a type II assault). The highest number of such assaults in U.S. workplaces each year are directed against health care workers. These episodes are characterized by either verbal or physical assaults perpetrated by patients and visitors against providers.

Read the full blog post here

Read the original research abstract here

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