home Hospital Staffing, Nursing Shortage Do staffing levels affect incidences of workplace violence in healthcare facilities?

Do staffing levels affect incidences of workplace violence in healthcare facilities?

According to a recent story in the New York Times, low staffing levels in facilities combined with the nationwide nursing shortage increase the risk of an assault. The article also notes that nurses and other personal care workers suffer injuries from these attacks at a rate 12 times higher than the overall private sector.

Nurses and other personal care workers bear the brunt of such attacks, with 25 injuries annually resulting in days off from work for every 10,000 full-time workers at 12 times the rate of the overall private sector, according to the bureau. The most dangerous settings are psychiatric units and nursing homes, where patients are often confused, disoriented or suffering from mental ailments, as well as emergency rooms, where long waits for care can anger patients, and the people with them.
Low morale is another side effect of these attacks if the staff doesn’t feel management’s concern or support in these matters.

What can be done to protect your staff without hiring more security or adding an airport-like screening? Increasing staffing levels seems to be the surest way to reduce these attacks. Another benefit of increasing staffing levels is the positive effect it can have on your patient care.
Every facility must ask themselves if their staffing levels are putting their employees at risk, and if so is it cheaper to add staff or to settle a lawsuit that could result from an assault.

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Patrick Fuerstenau

Patrick Fuerstenau here. Born in Kentucky, raised in Germany, landed in Nebraska and still here. I've been involved with Marketing and Advertising for over a decade. It all began with an internship at an ad agency in Omaha, followed by a 9 year stint as a graphic artist at the lone major newspaper in Omaha. A friend of mine told me about an opening at her company and said that it was the best gig she's ever had... So I decided to spread my proverbial wings and see what I could do for them and vice versa. So here I am at Medical Solutions and am going on my 3rd year as a Marketing Specialist for a great travel nursing company. This by far has been a major blessing in my life. I love the work I get to do just as much as I love the people who make up this fabulous company. I can see myself here for a long time... As long as they'll have me. Now that we've got the career timeline out of the way... Let me tell you a little about who I am. I am oh so passionate about the game of futbol! I've been playing soccer since the age of 8 and am still playing today. If I couldn't at least kick the ball around, I don't know what I would do with myself. I fear getting old. I also have a strong love for the arts... Music, Visual arts, Film, Design... pretty much anything and everything arty. I'm happy go lucky and am always looking to have a good time. Just ask my manager! And I love writing about travel nursing.