April 15, 2009

Male nurses assaulted more than female

Male nurses in Canadian hospitals and nursing homes in 2005 were much more likely to be physically assaulted by a patient than female nurses, officials said.

Statistics Canada reported 46 percent of male nurses said they had been physically assaulted by a patient in the previous year, compared with 34 percent of female nurses.

The report also indicated 55 percent of male nurses and 46 percent of female nurses said they experienced emotional abuse.

The report covered the approximately 218,000 nurses who delivered direct patient care in hospitals or long-term care facilities in 2005.

Overall, three-quarters were registered nurses, 24 percent were licensed practical nurses and the remaining 1 percent were registered psychiatric nurses. Ninety-four percent of the nurses were women.

Health officials speculate the higher risk of abuse among male nurses might be greater exposure to violent patients and that male nurses might feel protective of female staff and assume the primary role in restraining aggressive patients.