A registered nurse, Laura Paul, was observing a sedated patient in 2019 in the Cox Medical Center Branson’s intensive care unit when he suddenly attacked her.

She is a house supervisor who takes care of patients from different units of the hospital, and she tried to save herself from the patients attacked and screamed. 

Hospitals Are Introducing Panic Buttons To Protect Nurses From Assaults

Fortunately for Paul, a nurse from the next room hurt her and got her health. Around five people sedated the patient again who was extremely sick and not aware of his actions. Paul said that if the intensive care unit were noisier, they might not have been on time to help her. 

Hospitals Are Introducing Panic Buttons To Protect Nurses From Assaults

The administrators of the hospital have planned to give around 300 panic buttons to staff in the next two months which would help them in such dangerous situations. The hospital is buying from the Skaggs Foundation, a local charity’s $132,000 grant. This move comes after concerns about violence from patients towards the staff, a problem that continues as the coronavirus pandemic has worsened the situation at hospitals around the US. 

All across the United States as the hospitals are overwhelmed by patients because of COVID-19, staff members and doctors are reporting threats and violence towards them which makes their jobs difficult. 

Branson hospital’s vice president of clinical services and chief nursing officer, Lynne Yaggy said that there were reports of violence even before the pandemic, but the intensity has increased dramatically. 

Many hospitals are restricting the number of entrances. Many nurses in Idaho are scared to go to stores without changing their scrubs as they are afraid of people attacking them. 

Coeur d’Alene’s nurses and doctors have been accused by people of killing their family members who were admitted to their hospital. They don’t believe that coronavirus is real, said the spokesperson of the hospital Caiti Bobbitt. Many doctors have been subjected to rumors spread by angry people. 

On the weekend of Labor Day, a person threw some liquid on a suburban Denver’s nurse. 

Nurses who took part in a survey of the umbrella organization of the nurses’ union said that they have experienced increased violence and threat. 

People and healthcare workers who study violence at the workplace say that panic buttons may protect hospital staff but are not the solution. 

A professor of Michigan State University who studies the safety, health, and well-being of healthcare workers, Judy Arnetz, said that there isn’t just one simple solution. 

Arnetz believes that clinics and hospitals should train their staff in de-escalation techniques and a system should be implemented for collecting and reporting incident data. Arnetz has studied violence happening in the workplace especially in the healthcare sector for around 25 years. 

According to US Department of Labor’s data, workers in the healthcare sector face a higher risk than other workers and violent incidents against them are rising. 

The violence against health workers has increased because of the inability of people to see their families and their loved ones dying, said Arnetz. 

Arnetz said that the threat can be from patients as well as their families. The pandemic has caused a lot of frustration and discomfort for people.

Cox Branson hospital’s president, William Mahoney said that safety has been the first concern of hospital staff in recent years. He said that while recruiting nurses earlier, they asked about their salaries and departments. After 2018, they ask about their protection and security. 

CoxHealth tried using the panic buttons with staff in 2020. They wore it on their name tags. By pressing the button, the whole system was alerted. The nurse’s location and the alert are sent to the security staff.