2022Workplace Violence

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

More than nine in ten healthcare workers – 92 percent – have experienced, or been in close proximity to, workplace violence from a patient or a patient’s caregiver in the past month, while three in four have encountered both verbal and physical assaults, according to a survey by employee listening leader Perceptyx.

The survey released in May 2022 found that physical violence was most prevalent in hospitals and long-term care facilities, but the seriousness of the incidents varied. While hospital staff experienced the most intense physical violence, workers in long-term care facilities experienced physical violence more frequently.

Nurses in hospitals were the most likely of all healthcare employees to be exposed to physical or verbal violence at work, with 96 percent experiencing an instance in the past month. In addition, four in five hospital nurses had to call a coworker or security because they felt unsafe, twice as many as workers in other roles.

More than half of long-term care workers were exposed to a physical assault in the last month, with 15 percent of the incidents being serious enough to warrant a call for help. This figure compares with four in ten hospital workers experiencing a physical attack, but half of those incidents required intervention from another party.

Somewhat surprisingly, the survey also showed that male and female healthcare workers were equally as likely to have experienced a violent incident in the past month. However, women in healthcare were 20 percent more likely to have had an incident that required help from security or another colleague.

“It’s no secret that healthcare workers are burning out from long hours, lack of staff, and the emotional stress of the pandemic – and that violence in healthcare settings is on the rise,” Emily Killham, Director of Research and Insights at Perceptyx, stated in a blog for the survey. “But this research shows just how widespread the issue is.”

The findings underline results from a National Nurses United survey in April 2022 which showed nurses are experiencing more workplace violence than ever. Another study showed that being exposed to violence in the workplace had significant effects such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and burnout.

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