July 18, 2011
/>The most violent job in Washington state isn't being a police officer or a security guard. It's working as a
Seattle public radio station KUOW-FM made that finding as part of an investigative series on
workplace safety. The station found that violence strikes health care workers in Washington at six times the state
average, and frontline caregivers in emergency rooms and psychiatric wards get assaulted even more than that.
/>So we wanted to find out how one local hospital responds to the findings of that study. Is being a nurse’s
aide a dangerous job? What can be done to minimize violence?
KOHO’s Isaac Kaplan-Woolner spoke with
experts at Wenatchee’s Central Washington Hospital
Tom Diet Central Washington
Hospital’s Emergerncy Department Director, Tracey Kasnic is Vice President of Patient Services, and Greg
Menzer is assistant head of security.
Tracey Kasnic said she is unsurprised by the
survey’s results. Kasnic is Central Washington Hospital’s VP of Patient Care Services. She said
nurse’s aides are constantly on the hospital’s front lines, and violence can occur any number of
Kasnic said that while violence can and does occur against nurse’s
aides, she beilieves the survey is somewhat skewed to make the job appear more dangerous than it really is. Kasnic
said that coming in contact with potentially violent people is just all part of the job.
/> Tom Diet, Emergency Department Director at CWH, added that staff is trained on how to see
potentially violent situations coming, and how to diffuse them before they get out of hand.
/> But Diet said that even so, violence does occasionally occur at the hospital. But that
violence is nowhere near the rate the study found at one Washington hospital.
The single most violent
workplace in the state is at Western State Hospital, where criminal defendants are taken when they are found
incompetent to stand trial. Workers at psychiatric hospitals are assaulted on the job more often than anybody else
- 60 times more than the average worker in Washington state.