2 Nurses Assaulted Every Hour in Q2 2022

Psychiatric units and emergency departments saw the highest number of assaults resulting in moderate to severe injuries.

2 Nurses Assaulted Every Hour in Q2 2022

(Photo; F8 Suport Ukraine, Adobe Stock)

More than 5,200 nursing personnel were assaulted in the second quarter of 2022, according to newly released data.

An analysis of Press Ganey’s National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators (NDNQI) showed that on average, two nurses were assaulted every hour. That equates to 57 assaults per day, 1,739 per month, and 5,216 per quarter. The findings, released Sept. 8, are based on the organization’s analysis of 483 U.S. facilities in its national database. The analysis defined assault as any encounter involving deliberate forcible, unwanted physical or sexual contact, regardless of whether there is intent to harm.

“Nurses take an oath to do no harm, and many put their own safety and health at risk to help a patient. However, violence should not be considered ‘just part of the job,'” said Jeff Doucette, DNP, RN, chief nursing officer at Press Ganey. “What’s especially concerning about these numbers is that they are likely even higher, as assaults generally go underreported by healthcare professionals — and nurses in particular.”

The majority of the assaults were from patients. Psychiatric units and emergency departments saw the highest number of assaults resulting in moderate to severe injuries while obstetrics and neonatal intensive care units had the lowest number of reported nurse assaults. It also found the majority of assailants are males, with exceptions in pediatric units and rehab units where females are more likely to be perpetrators of violence.

“Violence toward nurses has reached an alarming rate, nearing, if not already, an epidemic. We are calling on all healthcare leaders to declare zero tolerance for hostility toward healthcare workers, improve caregiver well-being and advance our shared commitment to zero harm,” Doucette continued. “Nurses deserve to be protected and feel safe while caring for people in their most vulnerable state.”

To help mitigate violence against nurses, Press Ganey recommends the following:

  • Implement reporting systems for record-keeping and safety and well-being program evaluation
  • Ensure caregiver safety is a core value, and the expectation that violence on the job is neither expected nor accepted
  • Enact formal policies and procedures for risk identification, hazard prevention and control, standard response plans, and post-incident support
  • Implement training and education programs that teach warning signs, de-escalation techniques, progressive behavior control, emergency management, and communication and teamwork

For more research and best practices for improving nurse safety, visit PressGaney.com.

3 responses to “2 Nurses Assaulted Every Hour in Q2 2022”

  1. Ken Hantman says:

    This statistic that is circulating is wrong. It grossly understates the real number. The American Nurses Association reports that over 30% of nurses are physically assaulted each year. There are 3.44 million nurses, so that is over one million assaulted per year. But the wrong report states 57 per day which is 20,805 per year.

  2. Jeff Oliver says:

    Ken, the number is grossly underreported. We know that workplace violence in healthcare has historically been underreported, and is just now starting to gain traction in it being common to report. It used to be swept under the rug and considered part of the job. As this reporting trend grows, reporting accuracy will improve but will remain under reported. I can tell you from experience that most of the assaults do not make it to the NDNQI dashboards. The true scope of the problem is worrisome, and we have to combat the problem at the facility level beginning with strong workplace violence programs, teammate support and prosecution of those who choose to harm caregivers. Creating a more navigable pathway for prosecution, in my opinion, will make a difference, as there will be real world consequences for the offenders. The fact that you are in a healthcare setting should not make it ok to assault, harass, threaten, or intimidate others.

  3. Brian Blenner says:

    This is underreported as it is dependent upon data sources, and the caregivers are so busy that they may not report. We also have to shift culture as the do no harm philosophy from the previous years is hard to overcome. I have to constantly talk caregivers into pressing charges as most of the time they do not want the hassle of going to court, get cross examined, and then to have a criminal justice system which moves very slow with very little outcomes is also hard to overcome. I often have to inform caregivers the help which is needed for this person isn’t always available in a hospital as hospitals generally treat the medical condition and not the anger management or substance abuse issues. I also have to tell caregivers they do not deserve to be assaulted. I often had to use that phrase in my law enforcement career to domestic violence victims. DV victims would often make excuses for the behaviors, I find caregivers do the same.

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