Violence against emergency medicine physicians has gone up in the past five years, and ER docs are now more fearful of being assaulted on the job, according to two new surveys on the topic.
Nearly 70 percent of over 3,500 doctors surveyed say violence in the ER has gotten worse over the past five years, and a quarter say it has gotten much worse, according to research conducted on behalf of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP).
Close to half of the survey respondents say they’ve been assaulted while at work. Of those respondents, 60 percent had experienced assault within the past year.
Seeking more security
Nearly half of the ER docs surveyed say hospitals can do more to protect clinicians by hiring more security guards, increasing parking lot security, installing metal detectors and stepping up hospital visitor screening.
Some hospitals have taken strides to protect their staff, according to a survey of nearly 270 ER docs published this month in the Annals of Emergency Medicine. The survey was part of a study comparing violence and security in the ER in 2005 with 2018.
More than half of respondents said their hospital had security staff that rounded throughout their hospital in 2018, compared with 27 percent in 2005, and 34 percent reported having security staff assigned specifically to the ER in 2018, compared with 24 percent in 2005.
When it comes to incidents of violence and attitudes toward it, 38 percent of survey respondents in 2018 say they’ve personally been assaulted versus 28 percent 13 years ago. More than a fifth of this year’s respondents say they are frequently afraid of being attacked while at work, compared with 9 percent of respondents in 2005.
The graphic below has more details from ACEP’s survey: