Many Bergen County nurses go to work with the expectation they will encounter both cooperative and uncooperative patients. Aggressive behaviors in some patients can lead to violence, especially in psychiatric facilities and emergency rooms. Nurse injuries caused by violent patients often are dismissed as job hazards rather than workplace accidents or crimes.
A report on job violence among 50 New Jersey hospital emergency departments was compiled from internal and federal reports obtained between 1992 and 2001. The majority of ED nurses interviewed had been verbally abused or threatened, with nearly one-third reporting assaults annually and 12 percent claiming repeated attacks. Seventy-two percent of ED nurses never filed official reports about the incidents.