Violence against nurses and other hospital caregivers is commonplace in California and around the nation, according to the Los Angeles Times. Some workers, especially in emergency rooms, say they experience some level of assault — biting, hitting, kicking and chasing — so often they consider it an unavoidable part of the job. Most attacks don’t result in serious injury, but hundreds have resulted in workers’ compensation claims in California alone in recent years, according to a Times review.
Nearly 40% of employees in California emergency rooms said they had been assaulted on the job in the previous year, according to a 2007 university survey. Many industry experts and hospital staffers say they believe violence by patients and visitors is rising but can’t say for sure because it hasn’t been rigorously tracked over time. The issue has recently gained attention, however, as hospital employee unions push for broader protections and more reporting by hospitals. The violence flares most often in emergency rooms and psychiatric wards, say staffers, researchers and security officials.