Most of us don’t think of nursing as a dangerous profession, but unfortunately, nurses in many places face more violence on the job than law enforcement personnel and prison guards. It has become an epidemic in American hospitals and clinics. Nurses’ aides and home health care workers are also at risk for patient violence and other injuries.
A recent survey found that over 75 percent of nurses report being abused verbally and physically just for trying to do their job. Nurses can suffer many types of abuse from patients, including:
- Verbal abuse
- Kicking and hitting
- Sexual assault
- Being threatened with guns
Ask a nurse about these dangers and they are likely to respond that it has simply become part of the job. That doesn’t mean, however, that it is right. Every month, there are assaults on nurses throughout the country. While some states have made it a felony to assault a nurse, others are lagging behind.
Additional on-the-job risks
Patient violence is only one of the things that make nursing dangerous. Nurses, aides and home health care workers routinely suffer injuries from moving and lifting patients. They can suffer repetitive stress injuries to their back, shoulders and arms that may eventually leave them unable to do their jobs. Falls, needle sticks and exposure to hazardous materials are also common nursing risks.
What can you do if you are injured?
Workers’ compensation covers on-the-job injuries, paying for all medical treatment and a portion of your lost wages. In some cases, a negligent third party may also be liable for your injuries.