Janice Wachtler, BAE, CBA
About 25 years ago, a television show premiered that focused on the daily activities of a group of physicians, nurses, and nurse’s aids in one emergency room in Chicago. ER was a great hit for nearly 10 years and in one episode it chronicled one attending physician’s encounter with a patient’s family who accosted him and left him broken and bleeding.
Recently, a nurse at a hospital in Chicago was shot and wounded by a patient’s family member who felt she did not provide that patient appropriate care. The article in the Chicago Tribune called the emergency department a war zone, in which emergency department workers were often spat upon, accosted, and verbally or physically abused. The wounding of this nurse was just the tip of the iceberg at this hospital.
So, is it time for all the emergency medicine associations to come together and insist that emergency department personal be better protected? Should we all stand by and let these talented and dedicated physicians, nurses, PAs and NPs, be afraid to go to work, or even leave work? Will we see people leave the field because they are not safe in the workplace? So, let this be a first step in demanding that institutions step up and act.
Emergency Physician’s Bill of Rights
- It is the right of emergency physicians and other emergency personnel to work in an environment that is well-equipped, clean and safe.
- It is the right of the emergency physician and emergency department personnel to be protected from violence brought upon them by upset family members, friends or others by the institution in which they work.
- It is the right of the emergency physician and emergency department personnel to have counsellors and family advocates employed by the institution to act as intermediaries to mediate disputes, and act to defuse tense situations and appease family members or others.
- It is the right of the emergency physicians and emergency department personnel to have a safe, well-lit location in which to park their cars or wait for public transportations before and after shifts that is protected and patrolled by security personnel employed by the institution.
- It is the right of the emergency physicians and emergency department personnel to have a safe, comfortable, secure lounge, where they may rest during their shift.
This is just a beginning, let me know if you have other suggestions and we will present and raise flag of awareness of these issues to the media, institutions and government.
We want to hear from you! Leave your thoughts in the comments, we want to see what you think should be included!