Most people who have worked in urgent care for any length of time could share stories of patients who become unruly, belligerent, or downright violent. Sometimes it’s out of frustration over a situation, a reaction to pain, or under the influence of substances. A report on NBC New York recently focused the public’s attention on this problem as it pertains to emergency rooms. It quoted data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics revealing that 47% of 3,500 emergency room physicians surveyed have been assaulted at work. Further, the intentional injury rate for private hospital workers is five times the national average for all other private industries (10 injuries per 10,000 full-time employees vs two injuries per 10,000 full-time employees). Some states, such as New Jersey, require that people assaulting healthcare providers be charged with the same offense as someone that assaults a law enforcement officer. That does little to prevent violence from taking place, however. That falls on the institutions where clinicians ply their trade. The NBC New York report quotes a spokesperson for the Greater New York Hospital Association as suggesting that an incident reporting system would allow facilities to study and come up with strategies to prevent violent encounters with patients. Such efforts would need to include front-line staff in order to be effective. Unfortunately, crimes against urgent care providers—and urgent care centers themselves—are nothing new. JUCM has covered several aspects of such occurrences. Two you may find especially helpful are #MeToo in the Urgent Care Center: When the Perpetrator Is a Patient and Protecting Your Urgent Care Center Against Robbery.
Violence Against Healthcare Providers Is Getting Attention—Finally