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Nurses are particularly vulnerable to violent attacks when staffing is low and at times of high activity, such as visiting hours and meals, OSHA researchers explain. Some nurses also work alone in remote locations and in high-crime areas where they are vulnerable to assault.
Many nurses can't avoid working alone or in emergency rooms and mental health centers where the potential for violence exists. Most health care centers have installed security systems that control access and require employees to wear ID badges.
Familiarize yourself with your patients, especially those with a history of violent behavior, dementia, or drug or alcohol intoxication. You can also make sure you always have an escort or another worker around when you feel you're in an unsafe situation. Make sure you have a system that protects confidentiality but alerts your co-workers if you know there's a patient who may become aggressive.