Time is Up on Nurse Abuse


This guest post is by ‘Nurse Alice’ Benjamin, MSN, RN, ACNS-BC.

As a nurse for nearly 20 years, I have witnessed and experienced physical, verbal and emotional abuse while caring for patients. I once cared for a patient who threw objects at me, yelled obscenities and racial slurs, spat on me and made unreasonable demands even though I was providing the best care possible.

Last month in Arkansas, a nurse was bitten and punched in her head repeatedly. In another incident, a nurse was choked and sexually assaulted. A majority of the time, nurses who have either been a victim or witnesses to physical and verbal abuse don’t receive news coverage. Thanks to technology and media, we have been able to highlight the magnitude and urgency of the matter, but still not intensely enough to end abuse altogether. As a nurse and media health expert, I make sure to discuss this issue on national television. I truly believe that these senseless acts of violence and abuse demand immediate attention and swift action.

Sadly, all nurses face similar, unsafe situations every day. And at times, unwarranted acts of violence are committed against us. That’s why I am proud to support the #EndNurseAbuse initiative – a national call-to-action led by the American Nurses Association urging nurses, healthcare professionals, patients and all concerned individuals to get involved. Sign a pledge to support zero tolerance when it comes to violence against nurses; report abuse whenever possible; and share the pledge with others asking them to sign too.

The clock has run out on harassment, sexual assault, and inequality in the workplace.

Across all industries and professions, women and men are speaking up to make it clear that time is up.

As we launch ANA’s Year of Advocacy, please join me by taking the pledge to #EndNurseAbuse today.

Author: Brian Davis

Legislative Coordinator for ANA. Heading up grassroots efforts and social media on the Policy and Government Relations team.

1 thought on “Time is Up on Nurse Abuse”

  1. I have been hit, kicked, scratched, pinched, and grabbed. The scariest incident involved a patient pulling me into his bed. I couldn’t get away and was yelling for help (other events precluded my coworkers abilities to respond at that moment), until I finally slid out of my jacket at the right time to escape. I’ve had drinks and silverware thrown at me. I’ve had a patient threaten to come back with a gun because he didn’t get his discharge papers quickly enough, and another threaten to cut off my ears. Almost all of these events were reported to police, zero have resulted in charges. The patient that threatened to return with a gun spoke to police for several minutes before departing, and sent flowers later that day as an apology.

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