To address their concerns, I authored a bill to protect all health care workers from assault. With the help of the Arizona Nurses Association and many other health care groups, our bill passed out of the House of Representatives with bipartisan support. Though it stalled in the Senate this term, we will continue to push forward again next year.
Explore This IssueACEP Now: Vol 38 – No 10 – October 2019
There are many potential ways to decrease this problem, from stiffer penalties to administrative reporting requirements. Even mandating signage that clearly communicates the law would be a step in the right direction. Since becoming involved with this issue, I have received countless emails from health care workers with their own harrowing stories and offers of support. And these letters of frustration and support keep on rolling in.
We are lucky to work in an amazing field with kind, caring, dedicated professionals, many of whom I consider personal friends. For all their sacrifices, they have the right to feel safe at work.
We as physicians are often viewed as captains of the team, so the burden is upon us to take the lead. If my experience here in my state can be of use elsewhere, please let me know by writing to me at email@example.com .
Most of all, please join the effort to end violence in health care any way that you can. That may mean creating awareness at work, raising the issue with your state and local ACEP chapters, contacting your legislative representatives, or doing what I did and becoming one. The more our colleagues get involved, the better our chances are.
Resources for Further Reading
Dr. Shah is an attending physician at Dignity Health and a member of the Arizona House of Representatives for Legislative District 24.
- Omar H, Yue R, Amen AA, et al. 368 reassessment of violence against emergency physicians. Ann Emerg Med. 2018;72(4 Suppl):S144.
- Behnam M, Tillotson RD, Davis SM, et al. Violence in the emergency department: a national survey of emergency medicine residents and attending physicians. J Emerg Med. 2011;40(5):565-579.
- May DD, Grubbs LM. The extent, nature, and precipitating factors of nurse assault among three groups of registered nurses in a regional medical center. J Emerg Nurs. 2002;28(1):11-17.
- Costigan AD. My job: a courtroom victim impact statement. Ann Emerg Med. 2019;73(2):204-205.