The day after undergoing complicated surgery for pancreatic cancer, a friend’s 76-year-old-husband became combative and aggressive while being cared for in an Intensive Care Unit. He stood up, tore out his IV and nasal gastric tubes, and pushed the nurse who had come to get him to lie down. Eventually he had to be tied down to his bed with hand and foot restraints because he was kicking and thrashing about – even kicking his wife in the stomach. Not the type of scene we expect in an ICU.
For nurses these days, however, it seems that assaults and acts of violence have become part of the job. According to Christy McConville of the United Nurses Associations of California, workplace assaults are now being captured on video and shared on social media, creating a new awareness of the problem.The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that violence against hospital workers is nearly five times greater than against average workers in all other employment categories combined – and it seems to be rising.