COLORADO, USA — Research shows that violence in hospitals and health systems across the country is increasing.
According to a report from the Colorado Hospital Association, health care workers nationwide are five times more likely to be hurt on the job due to violence compared to workers in other industries.
CHA says a nurse somewhere in the U.S. is assaulted every 30 minutes, on average, and in one month studied, 90% of health care workers experienced or witnessed violence.
"It's just wrong. And frankly, just confounding that folks would attack the people who are literally there to care for us," said Joshua Ewing, Vice President of Government Affairs for CHA.
Ewing said there's been an exponential increase in violence against health care workers since the pandemic started. He believes many patients and visitors are using health care workers as an outlet for their frustration with the pandemic.
"I think a lot of it has to do with the politicization of our health care system that's occurred during the pandemic," Ewing said. "As social media took over, politics got involved, and masking or vaccines got controversial. I think a lot of that has shown up in more aggressive attitudes towards health care workers, who are simply just trying to care for their friends and families and neighbors in their communities."
Ewing said the increase in violence has made it difficult to hire and retain workers within the hospital system. He said the state is short about 54,000 entry-level health care workers, and short about 10,000 registered nurses.
Ewing said Colorado hospitals and health systems are taking a number of steps to address this issue, including more security, restricted access in certain areas, safety drills, mental health support for employees and paid time off for employees who've experienced violence at work.
"We as patients deserve a safe place to seek care," Ewing said. "And our health care workers deserve a safe place to deliver it."
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