A new analysis shows that emergency medical residents and health workers at high risk of physical or verbal aggression


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A new study a Annals of Emergency Medicine emphasizes the importance of protecting residents from physicians (first-degree physicians who are still in training) and emergency care teams from incidents of physical or verbal abuse.

The survey of 123 doctors, residents and emergency department staff found that 78% of all health workers experienced violent aggression during the previous twelve months, including more than one in five ( 22%) residents of emergency physicians. Eighty-nine percent of residents had experienced verbal assault by a patient in the previous twelve months, compared with 80 percent of other health workers.

“Violent or threatening incidents in the emergency department pose risks to everyone’s safety, but they can also affect the mental health of health workers and can increase the likelihood of burnout,” said Lauren Querin, MD, MS, lead author and emergency with the Chapel Hill Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of North Carolina (UNC). “These encounters occur frequently and are often not reported.”

Of the total number of respondents who experienced physical assaults or , 19 percent did not discuss the incident with anyone. About half (53 percent) only discussed the incident with co-workers, while only 20 percent filed a formal incident report at the hospital or police. Among residents, 96% discussed the incidents with only one partner or no one. None of the residents submitted formal reports.

Residents ’experience with the assault became more frequent over time in the program, according to the analysis. Sixty-two percent of first-year residents and 100 percent of second- and third-year residents experienced verbal assault. Although there were no first-year residents , 25% of second-year residents and 36% of third-year residents indicated that they have been physically assaulted.

“More can be done to ensure that all members of the emergency care team can prioritize instead of worrying about their own safety at work, “said RJ Sontag, MD, president of the Neighborhood Association of Emergency Medicine (EMRA).” This study looks at an emergency department, but stories like these are common across the country. We need to empower residents and others to report these incidents and take the necessary steps to protect them and patients “.

Only 24% of residents believe that the labor violence protocols established in their facilities are adequate, while 30% do not believe that protections are sufficient and 38% are not safe. Eight percent were unsure of what the protocols were.

The analysis details anonymous relationships of violence, sexual assault, or personal threats.

One resident reported that a patient with discharge threatened to “come pick me up and shoot me in the kneecaps.”

Another He commented: “Not only was he afraid of me and the rest of the staff … but he was also afraid of the injuries the patient would suffer and should treat.”

This qualitative analysis echoes the conclusions of a 2018 survey of more than 3,500 emergency physicians nationwide from the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP). ACEP is leading efforts with physicians, hospitals, care teams, regulators and policymakers to address violence in the emergency department, including extensive work to support the introduction of the “Law on the Prevention of Violence in the Workplace for health care and social service workers by 2021 “. Representative Joe Courtney (D-CT) and a bipartisan coalition in the House of Representatives.

For its members, ACEP offers opportunities for education, training and advocacy with the aim of curbing violence in China . The association also launched “No Silence on ED Violence,” a campaign with the Association of Emergency Nurses (ENA) that gives those affected the opportunity to share stories and raise awareness of workplace violence while providing resources. and a peer network that supports emergency nurses and physicians.

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More information:
Lauren B. Querin et al, A Qualitative Study of the Experiences of Resident Physicians and Health Workers of Verbal and Physical Abuse in the Emergency Department, Annals of Emergency Medicine (2021). DOI: 10.1016 / j.annemergmed.2021.04.019

Citation: Residents of emergency physicians and health workers at high risk of physical or verbal aggression, shows a new analysis (2021, June 28), retrieved June 28, 2021 at https://medicalxpress.com/news / 2021-06-emergency-physician-residents -health-workers.html

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