Violence in emergency departments has reached epidemic levels and emergency nurses are particularly vulnerable. In fact, the healthcare industry leads all other sectors in the incidence of nonfatal workplace assaults, and the emergency department is a particularly vulnerable setting. It’s currently a felony to assault an emergency nurse in 31 states, and we’re working hard to make it a felony in all 50 states.
ENA believes emergency nurses have the right to education and training related to the recognition, management, and mitigation of workplace violence. The mitigation of workplace violence requires a “zero tolerance” environment instituted and supported by hospital leadership.
The resources below were designed to help emergency nurses conduct and participate in research and quality improvement initiatives aimed at preventing, mitigating, and reporting workplace violence.
No Silence on ED Violence
According to surveys by the American College of Emergency Physicians and the Emergency Nurses Association, almost half of emergency physicians report being physically assaulted at work, while about 70 percent of emergency nurses report being hit and kicked while on the job. Furthermore, the vast majority – 80 percent – of emergency physicians say violence in the emergency department harms patient care. Similarly, emergency nurses report that the harmful consequences of experiencing a violent event at work interfere with the delivery of high-quality patient care.
The frequency of violent attacks on nurses, physicians and patients in our nation’s emergency departments is unconscionable and unacceptable. For medical professionals, being assaulted in the emergency department must no longer be tolerated as “part of the job.”
In an effort to meaningfully minimize these attacks and protect emergency department professionals, ENA and ACEP launched a new campaign called “No Silence on ED Violence.” This joint effort aims to support, empower and provide the resources our respective members need to effect safety improvements at their workplace, while engaging state and federal policymakers, stakeholder organizations and the public at large to generate action to address this crisis.