TIME: The Tulsa shooting is a reminder health care workers face violence every day

UC expert says health care workers are exhausted by endless worrying

A shooting at a Tulsa medical facility on June 1 that left four people dead has renewed the discussion around violence against health care workers. TIME magazine reported that according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, health care and social service workers are five times as likely to be injured from violence in their workplace than other workers, and the number of such injuries has risen dramatically over the last decade—from 6.4 incidents per 10,000 workers annually in 2011, to 10.3 per 10,000 in 2020. Healthcare workers say the situation has become even worse during the COVID-19 pandemic; in September, nearly a third of respondents to a National Nurses United survey said they’d experienced an increase in workplace violence.

Gordon Gillespie, PhD, associate dean of research for the UC College of Nursing

Gordon Gillespie, PhD, associate dean of research for the UC College of Nursing/Photo/Colleen Kelley/UC Creative + Brand

One of the expert sources quoted in the story from TIME was Gordon Gillespie, PhD, and associate dean of research for the UC College of Nursing who researches violence against health care workers. He tells TIME tensions are high because many people are tired of the endless partisan back and forth on COVID-19. 

Many health care workers are exhausted by endless worrying—about personal protective equipment, the risk of getting sick, or having to pick up the slack for ill coworkers.

“Everyone is just tired, and their resilience is down. And so when you have things happen, you’re more likely to escalate even faster,” says Gillespie.

Gordon argues that it’s key to train health care workers for violence, and to make it more difficult for people with violent intent to get into hospitals—which, he admits, is a challenge, because hospitals are designed to welcome people, not to lock down. 

Read the full story here

Read more about Gillespie's research on preventing violence against health care workers here

Lead photo of St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa/Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

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