As part of the Career Fulfillment pillar of ACEP’s new strategic plan, the College is committed to aggressively solving challenges and supporting well workplaces for all emergency physicians using evidence-driven tactics. There are many factors that contribute toward a “well workplace,” but one of the most important is that emergency physicians need to be protected from violence in the emergency department (ED).
Explore This IssueACEP Now: Vol 41 – No 07 – July 2022
When it comes to the increase in ED and hospital violence, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. ACEP has been using a multipronged approach to combat this issue through federal advocacy, regulatory changes, and public awareness campaigns. The College believes employers and hospitals should develop workplace-violence prevention and response procedures that address the needs of their particular facilities, staff, contractors, and communities, as those needs and resources may vary significantly. ACEP is currently lobbying hard in Congress for two important workplace-violence bills, but let’s go back to a few years ago when ACEP started collecting the evidence needed to confirm the problem.
In September 2018, ACEP conducted a poll of its members to illustrate the breadth and impact of workplace violence in the ED. The findings were powerful: Almost 50 percent of emergency physicians had been physically assaulted at work and more than 60 percent of those incidents had occurred in the year before the survey. Nearly seven out of 10 respondents said their hospitals reported the incidents, but only three percent pressed charges. And violence isn’t limited to the clinicians either; more than 50 percent said that patients had been physically harmed during an incident.
Since the poll’s release in October 2018, our data has been mentioned nearly 700 times across a broad variety of media outlets, including CNN, The Washington Post, USA Today, Huffington Post, U.S. News & World Report, and Kaiser Health News. The poll was also directly cited in the “Findings” section of the ACEP-supported Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act (H.R. 1195), federal legislation introduced by Representative Joe Courtney (D-CT) to require the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue an enforceable workplace violence prevention standard for health care and social service employers.