Survey: Nearly half of hospital nurses report increased workplace violence



Nearly half of registered nurses are reporting a surge in workplace violence as pandemic-driven staffing shortages worsen in hospitals throughout the country, according to a recent survey from a national nurses’ union.

National Nurses United, which represents more than 175,000 registered nurses in the U.S., found in the survey released last week that 48% of hospital nurses reported “a small or significant increase in workplace violence” in March — up from 30.6% in the same survey in September and 21.9% in March 2021.

That’s roughly a 57% increase from September and a 119% increase from March 2021, the union said. It said the number has grown through the seven surveys it has conducted during the pandemic.

The union attributed the spike in workplace violence to several pandemic-related factors, including a staffing shortage that has arisen from nurses retiring and quitting in the face of increased overtime.

According to the survey, 69% of registered nurses said staffing shortages have gotten “slightly or much worse recently,” a 20.2% increase from September’s survey and a 47.8% increase from March 2021.

Another 64.5% of respondents said their hospitals made them work “excessive overtime” hours to staff units, up from 49.3% in September.


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“We are now more than three years into the pandemic and not only is staffing worse, but workplace violence is increasing,” Zenei Triunfo-Cortez, co-president of National Nurses United, said in a statement.

“Nurses are experiencing alarming levels of moral distress and moral injury due to the unsafe working conditions,” added the registered nurse.

The majority of nurses reported seeking out mental health treatment over pandemic-related issues, finding their hospitals unprepared for another COVID-19 surge, and fearing they would contract the virus or infect a family member.

Nearly 6 in 10 nurses said they were having more trouble sleeping and 83.5% felt stressed more often than before the pandemic — a 56.1% increase from September.

Another 77.2% said they felt anxious more often than they did before the pandemic, 68.7% felt sad or depressed more often and 56% felt traumatized by their experiences caring for patients.

The National Nurses United Survey collected responses from 2,575 nurses, including union and non-union members, from Feb. 2 to March 20. Respondents came from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

For more information, visit The Washington Times COVID-19 resource page.





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