Amber Knierim, 20, wanted to be a nurse when she grew up, her MySpace profile says. Instead, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer, she’s in jail for beating one up – a Temple University Hospital emergency-room nurse who was attacked when she tried to keep Knierim from grabbing needles from an empty examination room on June 21. “She picked the wrong person to mess with,” said Joan Meissler, 53, who is healing from the beating that wrecked her finances and left her in permanent pain, angry, and disheartened. Today, 180 nurses and other health-care workers will convene in a session on workplace violence for health-care workers, sponsored by the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals, a union.
“It’s a national problem,” said union president Patricia Eakin. The U.S. Department of Labor issued 2009 statistics yesterday that ranked paramedics and nursing aides as being the workers most likely to miss work because of injuries. While most of the injuries come from overexertion caused by lifting, there are 38 incidents of violent assaults per 10,000 nurses aides. The only occupations that face a greater likelihood for assault on the job are police and correctional officers. Between 8 and 13 percent of emergency-room nurses are victims of physical violence every week, according to a survey by the Emergency Nurses Association, a professional group in Illinois.