The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) recently conducted a survey1 about workplace violence, compiling responses from more than 3,500 members. Some of the highlights of the survey findings are summarized as follows.

ACEP: Have you ever been physically assaulted or witnessed another assault while at work in the emergency department?

  • Physically assaulted: 47%
  • Witnessed another assault: 71%
  • Neither: 10%

Note: These findings were essentially the same regardless of gender, with 48% of males and 44% of females saying that they had been assaulted.

ACEP: How many times have you been physically assaulted in the emergency department in the past year?

  • None: 39%
  • Once: 34%
  • Two to 5 times: 24%
  • Six to 10 times: 2%
  • More than 10 times: 1%
  • Prefer not to answer: 1%

ACEP: What was the nature of your most recent assault?

  • Hit, slap: 44%
  • Spit on: 30%
  • Punch: 28%
  • Kick: 27%
  • Scratch: 17%
  • Bite: 6%
  • Assault with a weapon (knife, other): 2%
  • Sexual assault: 1%
  • Assault with a gun: 0%
  • Other: 13%

ACEP: What do you think are the biggest contributing factors to violence in the emergency department?

  • No adequate punitive consequence or response towards the attacker: 34%
  • Behavioral health patients: 32%
  • Absence of adequate protective mechanisms for physicians/staff: 15%
  • Emergency department crowding: 8%
  • People seeking prescription opioids: 5%
  • Emergency department boarding: 2%
  • Other: 4%

REFERENCE

  1. Marketing General Inc. ACEP Emergency Department Violence Poll Research Results. September 2018:1-25.