You’ve finished your shift and stayed late to chart. It’s after midnight and you’re walking to your car or the bus stop. It seems like you’re all alone. You hear footsteps behind you. They’re fast and coming closer—it sounds like the person is running. Suddenly, a jogger runs by you and turns the corner, leaving you with your heart beating fast. Do you know what you would have done—should have done—if someone actually had attacked you?
Like many frontline workers, nurses can be exposed to physical danger in numerous ways. A home healthcare nurse doesn’t always know the type of home she’ll be entering. A clinic nurse doesn’t know if the patients will become angry or get out of control, and sometimes relatives in hospitals can get out of control, too. Nurses also come and go from healthcare facilities at odd hours of the day and night, increasing safety issues.
So what do nurses need to know about personal safety? Actually, there are two important tenets: 1) Avoid being a victim and 2) know what to do if you are attacked.
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