New data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows just how dangerous it is to be a nurse. The statistics show that healthcare workers are now six times more likely to experience violence in the workplace than the average U.S. worker. For those at nursing and residential facilities, the rate is even higher, 10 times the average worker. Cumulatively, the healthcare and social services industries have the highest rate of workplace violence in the US.
A Growing Problem
According to a survey conducted by National Nurses United, the largest organization of registered nurses in the U.S., 48% of hospital nurses reported a small or significant increase in workplace violence, up from 30% in September 2021, and 21% in March 2021. The year-on-year increase from March 2021 to March 2022 was 119%.
The BLS data does not include information on nonfatal injuries that do not require days away from work. This means that the data does not include information on verbal assaults or other injuries that healthcare workers face.
Between 2011 and 2018, an average of 20 people died each year as a result of violence at healthcare and social work facilities, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The largest category of assailants was made up of relatives or domestic partners of the victims, followed by patients, co-workers, and other clients. In 31 of the cases, the assailant was unknown or could not be categorized.
Working in healthcare during the pandemic has taken a toll on the mental health of nurses. National Nurses United surveyed the mental distress among nurses and found sharp spikes in difficulty sleeping, anxiety, and depression. More than half feel traumatized by their experience, a 65% increase from just six months ago. The omicron wave left many nurses even more burdened, as colleagues fell sick exacerbating staffing shortages. This stress has taken a toll on nurses’ mental health, with 65% reporting increased difficulty sleeping, anxiety, and depression.