If you or someone you’re close to is in the nursing profession, you were likely saddened but not shocked to hear about a patient attack on a nurse this month at Rhode Island Hospital in Providence. The psychiatric patient allegedly attacked the nurse because he was upset about losing phone privileges.
The nurse survived the attack, but he was critically injured. The patient, who had been charged with the assault of someone else in the past, is facing another assault charge for this attack.
Why nurses are so often the victims of violence
Violent attacks are among the most common types of workplace injuries for nurses. Even those who don’t deal with psychiatric patients often treat patients who are impaired by drugs and/or alcohol. Prescribed drugs can also cause people to act out in ways they normally wouldn’t. Many hospital patients are in distress or pain for any number of reasons, and nurses are often among the first people they encounter.
Sometimes, the violence is at the hands of family members or others who come into a hospital or urgent care facility with a patient. Health care providers – particularly nurses — typically aren’t in a position to choose whether or not to treat someone. That makes them highly vulnerable to violent attacks.
Other common causes of nursing injuries
The more everyday facets of nursing lead to the other most common workplace injuries. These include:
- Falls: These are often caused by slipping on a wet floor or tripping over equipment or cords
- Back injuries: These are most often caused by lifting patients.
- Harmful or contaminated substances: These often involve needle sticks as well as blood and other bodily fluids from patients.
The last of these can also lead to serious illnesses. Workers’ compensation benefits are available for nurses who suffer injuries and illnesses due to their work. Some (particularly illnesses) can be more challenging to link to work than others.
If you’re having difficulty getting your workers’ comp claim approved or you’re not getting the compensation you need and deserve, having legal guidance can help you navigate the process so that you can focus on healing.