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Nurses often victims of violence in the workplace

When one thinks about dangerous places to work, hospitals do not usually come to mind. The truth is, however, that those who work at such medical facilities in New York and elsewhere, particularly nursing staff, often experience workplace injuries, many of which go unreported. There are several ways that nurses may be hurt while on the job; one not often talked about is violence in the workplace.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has identified four different types of violence that occur in hospital settings. Type one involves a person with criminal intent. Type two involves patients or their family members. Type three has to do with violence among employees. Finally, type four is personal relationship violence.

It is believed that type two is the most common kind of violence experienced by nursing staff. Why? They are the ones with the most contact with patients and their family members. Patients become violent for a number of reasons, such as having a history of violence, stress, being under the influence of drugs and suffering from some form of dementia -- among many others. Family members may become violent when emotionally strained.

Too many healthcare workers in New York and elsewhere choose not to report injuries resulting from workplace violence because they fear retaliation or think reporting will not accomplish anything. They take time off to seek treatment and recover, which may leave them facing financial burdens, as well as physical and emotional losses. All of these losses do not need to be something that they bear alone. Workers' compensation may be available to nursing staff who suffer injuries as a result of violence in the workplace, which would allow them to get the care and financial assistance they need during their recovery time. Furthermore, legal actions may be taken against hospitals that fail to protect their nursing staff or retaliate against them for reporting their injuries.

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