Private Hospital, Riverside, California, 9.2.14
A patient in the hospital’s Emergency Room became verbally abusive toward the Registered Nurse assigned to him. The patient grew increasingly agitated and attempted to leave. The nurse and the charge nurse followed the patient toward the exit doors. The charge nurse got on his cell phone to call the local police department when the patient suddenly turned back, grabbed the cell phone, and twisted the charge nurse’s arm. The other nurse intervened and brought the patient to the floor to calm and restrain him. The hospital’s security was present and did not intervene.
As a result, the nurse who intervened in the incident received a two-day suspension. The union rep filed a Dispute Resolution Process and as a result, the hospital agreed to security having a “more active and defined role” in the Emergency Department, install panic buttons located in all the nurses’ stations, have two visible officers in the Emergency Department and one officer in the lobby at all times, and hire psych techs or Certified Nursing Assistants to watch patients admitted as 5150s (patients who are suspected of being a danger to themselves or others). With all of these implementations, staff report a greater feeling of security.