Wednesday, August 17, 2016


Waiting isn’t something that most people enjoy. Many of us want everything fast, immediate, now!

Sometimes, when we don’t get what we want in short order, we can become irritated. Throw situational stressors into the mix and some people can lose what’s left of their patience, causing a verbal or even physical confrontation.

That is what happened with a man who was awaiting his mother’s test results.

In an August 8, 2016, article in the UK Mirror, reporter Kelly–Ann Mills describes a horrific moment at Zhongnan Hospital in Wuhan, China, when a patient’s son punched a pregnant nurse in the face.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Violence and PTSD

A July 25, 2016, article in the Hamilton Spectator describes a violent attack on a registered practical nurse at St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton's West 5th Campus, the hospital to the regional specialized mental health services for South Central Ontario, providing inpatient and outpatient care to those suffering with a severe mental illness or addiction.

Joel OpHardt, reporter for the Hamilton Spectator, wrote Domenic Di Pasquale, President of Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 786 said that about 5:30 am Friday a patient requested some medication. The nurse retrieved the medication, and when she gave it to the patient “he proceeded to kiss her.” “The nurse backed away from him, but the patient tackled her and groped her private parts. This nurse was able to get free at that point, and alerted nearby staff nearby. In a
The patient and attacker, Di Pasquale, “learned the nurse wasn’t physically hurt but is concerned about the traumatization of the incident.”

While the attack is infinitely disturbing, I cannot help but acknowledge Di Pasquale for conveying these sentiments, and for being aware of the risks of long-term post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to the victim.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

We Need to Do Better

We, as nurses and healthcare workers, need to do better.

Does that statement surprise you? Shock you? Anger you?

Allow me to explain.

A 62-year-old New Jersey nurse is recovering from a broken nose after being assaulted by a patient.
In the July 5, 2016 issue of My Central Jersey/USA Today, reporter Mike Deak wrote that 28-year-old patient Mauri Pierce was being weighed as part of the admission process to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital when she stood up from her wheelchair and struck the nurse in the nose with two open palms, breaking her nose and causing her to fall backward and strike her head against a wall. Pierce then started to run away but was caught by security, and ultimately charged with aggravated assault.

A broken nose can take an extended time to heal, and can cause many permanent complications, including altered appearance, change in or loss of sense of smell, and breathing difficulty.
This attack is a vicious and unwarranted act of violence.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

A Cup of Scalding Tea

A Brooklyn hospital nurse suffered second-degree burns last month when a patient’s daughter threw scalding tea in her face.

Nineteen-year-old Milldred Alverez attacked the Brooklyn healthcare worker at Wyckoff Heights Medical Center, where Alvarez’s mother was being treated.

In a June 17, 2016 New York Post article, reporter Sarah Trefethen wrote that Alvarez was “unhappy with the care her mother received.” The attack left the nurse with pain and blisters on her forehead, and Alverez was subsequently charged with felony assault.

The victim developed blisters as a result of the assault, meaning she received a second degree burn.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Reputation is Everything

“The healthcare industry leads all other sectors in the incidence of non-fatal workplace assaults,” according to the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA).   In 2013 healthcare workers reported 9,200 non-fatal workplace related to violence an amount representing more than 67% of injuries reported in all industries and professions.

The two biggest players in healthcare, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), have been sitting on the issue of violence against healthcare workers for years. Where does that leave us? Do we remain passive and suffer assaults or do we fight for our legal right to have a safe working environment?

If you have been a victim of abuse while taking care of your patient, with no one protecting you or standing up to defend you after the assault, and you are punished for rejecting the notion that assault is simply part of your job, what do you do?

We as healthcare workers dedicate our lives to taking care of, and providing treatment to, patients. We can end up putting our own safety at risk from these patients, risking assault not just from the patient but family members or even friends. This has been happening for decades. So what is the problem?

A few key factors are in play.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Oh Thank Goodness!

… Wait - Are You Kidding Me??

A June 9, 2016, article in the Patriot Ledger written by reporter Chris Burrell states:
Pembroke Hospital which is being monitored by the state department of Mental Health after a series of urgent safety violations, is looking for a new director of clinical services.
Phew, thank goodness!  I am sure now, once a new director of clinical services is found and hired, Pembroke Hospital will be fully able to properly care for its patients.

REALLY?? Are we to believe this one person has caused all these problems?

Friday, June 3, 2016

No Boundaries

There are no geographical confines of healthcare violence; it’s happening everywhere

Patrick Clarke
Patrick Clarke was 68 years old, semi-retired, and working at a South London community mental hospital.

On May 12, 2016, he lost his life. He was attacked by patient and suffered multiple stab wounds, and died at the scene.

I am saddened by this event and pained for Mr. Clarke’s family.

I am struck that his death is yet another tragic reminder that my colleagues in this profession are facing unnecessary acts of physical, verbal and psychological violence every day, everywhere.

And I am again unsettled that the nursing profession has lost yet another nurse to violence.

Please read and share your views on this event:

Sheila Wilson, RN BSN MPH
President stophealthcareviolence