This is just wrong. I know that stuff like this happens in other workplaces (hello…Post Office?), but c’mon, we’re supposed to be healers, right? Now read this:
Like many health care workers, I too have been threatened, called every name under the sun and have been afraid for my life, but this is an unbelievable case. I don’t understand what would drive this person to commit this, 4 years after the fact. I know revenge is a dish best served cold, but this is nearly random. All I can do is shake my head and send prayers for those who are now left behind.
It also brings up the very real specter of violence against health care workers. Many states have statutes that call for the prosecution of folks who commit violence against health care workers. When I was in Arizona, we had signs all over the ER where I did my senior preceptorship that said, “Assault of a health care worker is a felony.” Someone had taped a small sign below that which said, “And we do prosecute!” Unfortunately, here in Oregon, we have no such protection. We had a nurse get into an heated discussion that quite nearly came to blows, with family members who had brought a dog onto our floor (don’t even get me started on that) who the nurse had asked them to remove the dog. The family members became increasingly irate, escalating the situation to where security had to be called. But instead of doing the right thing, i.e. 86’ing the offending family members, they apologized. Yes, they bowed down and apologized to this family and verbally chastised the nurse.
A quick note about this though. First, it was not a therapy dog, nor an assistance dog. Second, they were hiding it inside of their clothes to sneak it onto the unit. Third and finally, one of our colleagues, who was working that day, in that section, is deathly allergic to dogs. We’re talking full on airway closing asthma attack when exposed to a dog. The nurse who asked them, politely, to leave had taken care of our colleague when she had been admitted awhile back because of an asthma flare after being exposed to a dog. So there was some personal feelings involved as well. So to continue…
So what does this tell me? It tells me that if I were to be assaulted at work, administration would not back me up. Plain and simple. Why people believe they can assault us is beyond me. I understand the stress of having a sick loved one, but why take it out on those trying to help that person? It is because we are easy targets. I also believe that it is because they know that nothing may happen to them. That they can get away with it. Now I’m not talking about the crazed demented old guy who doesn’t want to get back to bed. I’m talking about the intentional attack. Until people realize that this is not acceptable, and that there will be consequences things will not change.
Be safe out there.