I really believe this kind of violence against Nurses should be highlighted and shouted out from the rooftops so that the whole world can understand the pressures that Nurses are working under. It is hard enough to deal with the daily pressures of saving lives and comforting people in their time of need. Having to fear for violent attacks on your person is just too much.

 

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The story at the Bottom of this article tells us about an attack on a Nurse by a psychiatric patient and even though this happened in Montreal it has reference here purely because this is a problem many nurses across the US and the world face on a daily basis. Attacks by patients can take many forms – Physical, verbal, mental – and they all take a toll on the nurses that have to deal with it.

But let’s get back to the core of the problem. In the article, it is clear that the issue was the shortage of staff and the lack of security in the emergency room. The reality is that emergency patients are often inebriated and aggressive and every hospital should have security staff stationed at the ER. While Nurses can hardly choose the patients they have to deal with, they should at least have the confidence that there is someone nearby that will have their backs when things go pearshaped.

I believe that Hospital authorities are responsible for providing Nurses with a safe working environment and they should be held accountable for situations like these where the attack was clearly made much worse by the staff shortage and lack of security in the emergency room.

Has anything like this ever happened to you? Have you ever been in a situation where you felt your life being threatened? Are the systems and security at your hospital adequate to prevent these kinds of situations from occurring? Let us know in the comments because we need to talk about the risks Nurses face so that solutions can be found.

Here’s the Story from the Montreal Gazette:

A nurse was nearly strangled early Saturday morning by a psychiatric patient in the emergency room of the Montreal General Hospital — an attack that was made all the more horrific because of the absence of a security guard in the crowded downtown ER.

It was the second such attack on a nurse in the Montreal General in less than a year and occurred following cuts in the number of ER staff and the elimination of the overnight security guard near the triage desk, a veteran employee told the Montreal Gazette.

The nurse was assaulted at around 2 a.m. in the secure section of the ER that is reserved for psychiatric patients. The nurse tried in vain to scream while she was being choked, and out of desperation to save her life she poked him in the eyes.

A female patient attendant who happened to be returning to the nursing station discovered the nurse on the floor struggling under the weight of the patient. She jumped on the patient’s back and hollered for help, alerting a male attendant nearby who succeeded in restraining the man.

Police were alerted and arrested the patient. A Montreal Police Department spokesperson confirmed the incident to the Gazette on Sunday night.

Since the attack, the Montreal General has beefed up security and posted a guard in the ER until at least Tuesday, said the veteran employee, who did not want her name published for fear of losing her job.

“Everybody’s freaking out,” she said. “It’s a shit show.”

Officials with the McGill University Health Centre, which oversees the Montreal General, were not immediately available for comment.

The problem of violence in hospital ERs is not a new phenomenon. In February 2000, the Montreal General tightened security in its ER following a spate of violence against staff by exasperated patients. The MUHC put up signs throughout its facilities reminding people that violence is not necessarily physical, but threats, insults and shouting are harmful as well.

However, the veteran employee argued budget cuts since last year have made the problem much worse. The MUHC has been ordered by the provincial government to slash tens of millions of dollars from its operating budget.

“We have fewer people on the night shift — fewer nurses and patient attendants,” the employee said. “We used to have a security guard in the emergency at all times, but that’s not the case anymore. There are two security guards on the sixth floor at the security desk, but that’s it.”

What’s more, the Montreal General’s ER assumed the added responsibility of treating emergency psychiatric patients since the Royal Victoria Hospital — which had a psychiatric department — moved to the Glen site in 2015.

“We’re a tertiary-care centre downtown and we have a lot of intoxicated and aggressive emergency patients,” the employee added. “The MUHC has to do something about this. We have nurses who are burned out and some of the senior nurses are leaving. It’s just too much.”

In a similar assault nearly a year ago, a patient tried to strangle a nurse in the ER by wrapping a telephone cord around her neck. That assault occurred outside the psychiatric section and that nurse was never able to return to work, the employee recalled.

A MUHC physician, who was unaware of Saturday’s incident, acknowledged Sunday violence is a problem in the ERs.

“I was assaulted once by a patient in the ER and there was no security guard around,” said the physician, who agreed to be interviewed on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

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