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Survey of Hennepin Healthcare nurses reveals rising violence in hospitals

A new survey shows Hennepin Healthcare nurses feel under-staffing and unresponsive management are partly to blame for the uptick in violent incidents.

ST PAUL, Minn. — A new survey of Hennepin Healthcare nurses conducted by the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) shows the apparent increasing levels of violence against nurses and patients.

According to a press release, nurses say that under-staffing, over-working and unresponsive management all contribute to the issue. About 97% of the nurses surveyed report workplace violence or harassment in the last two years.

“After I was assaulted, I was not allowed to leave the floor to seek medical treatment because we were so short-staffed that there was nobody else who could provide care to my patients. I was extremely disappointed in the response of Hennepin Healthcare management at every step of the process,” said nurse and MNA Chair at Hennepin Healthcare Kelsey Boeshans. “We need management to acknowledge the severity of the problem and to take action to protect and support nurses who have experienced violence in the workplace.”

The nurses surveyed also report increased violence against patients. Nearly 81% of nurses said they considered patient safety to be at risk in their hospitals because of the violence. 

“Working as a float nurse in the ICU at Hennepin County Medical Center, I recently had a young patient kick me in the stomach while I was eight months pregnant. Accidents happen, but this was not the first case of violence with this patient,” said Hennepin Healthcare nurse Rita Gyasi. “Right now, it feels like our staff assignments are not set up in a way to keep nurses safe and to give patients the care they deserve."

The Minnesota Nurses Association says nurses are currently in the process of negotiating their contracts, "seeking fair and competitive wages to help retain and recruit nurses."

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