Letter to the editor: Violence on healthcare workers increasing

Published 8:47 am Thursday, December 8, 2022

To the editor:

I would like to bring awareness and the prevalence of workplace violence within healthcare, as the severity and occurrence have continued to increase drastically over the past few years.

With ongoing and increasing shortages across healthcare, staffing related, pharmaceuticals, or supplies, healthcare workers are faced with heavier workloads, sicker patients, and all while dealing with the intermingling of workplace violence – leaving the recipients of various forms of violence in search of an avenue of safety and a listening ear to their voice of concern and continued frustration.

From an outsider, the thought of violence in healthcare may sound farfetched; however, adding in the pandemic-associated stressors across the population, forms of workplace violence are happening more often than you may believe. According to the American Hospital Association, recent studies show that 44% of nurses reported being the recipient of physical violence and 68% of nurses reported verbal abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only does workplace violence cause direct physical and psychological injury, but it can also hinder the delivery of patient care – perhaps this still seems trivial, that is unless you are the patient that is impacted by the recent actions of another patient, family member, visitor, etc.

Why is this important?

Healthcare workers need your support. While there are laws in place that protect airline employees from assault from passengers, there are no federal laws in place to protect healthcare workers from the same assault and verbal abuse. As a local nurse, I am asking for your support in creating awareness of workplace violence across healthcare, as instances of violence continue to occur.

As you may be aware, a fellow North Carolina healthcare colleague succumbed to related injuries just a few short months ago … a human life lost to violence inflicted while providing care. In showing your support, you are doing your part in raising awareness and helping to take care of us.

Cindy Gwyn,     Mocksville