“I was told that it was the job that was coming back”: nurse, Pierre recounts his almost daily attacks

Yasmina Kattou, edited by Gauthier Delomez
modified to

7:13 a.m., February 17, 2023

“Me, when I started at the time, when we were beaten, I was told that it was the job that came in,” says Pierre, a nurse in an emergency department for 11 years, who experienced the violence from the start of his career. “We were educated like that by the doctors, by the superiors, by everyone,” he adds. The assaults therefore punctuated his nights on duty.

“Verbally, it’s every day. The only (attacks) that we really remember are those where we had to get treatment or stop after,” explains the nurse, detailing these abuses: “I got kicked in the head, kicked out, and cut my eardrum. Had to do a CT scan and got arrested.”

A team “affected” psychologically

What actually traumatized Pierre were above all the attacks on his colleagues. “Recently, a colleague two weeks from retirement was strangled. We must have been seven or eight on the person to try to get him released, he was killing him for us,” he recalls, pointing out that “the whole team had been affected” and that it was “still currently”. “Also, a patient who set fire to the garbage cans. On carbon poisoning, the colleague lost her child,” adds the nurse.

It is to deal with these various forms of violence against nursing staff that a first consultation meeting was held on Thursday to establish a plan of action, and this consultation must be completed at the end of May. Agnès Firmin Le Bodo, Minister Delegate in charge of Territorial Organization and Health Professions, is in charge of implementing an action plan by the summer.

84% of caregivers say they regularly suffer physical attacks

In total, 37% of hospital health professionals say they regularly suffer physical attacks, and this figure rises to 84% for caregivers according to the MNH-Odoxa 2022 barometer. The National Observatory of Violence in Health Care has identified in 2021 34,550 professionals victims of this violence.

However, Pierre denounces a worsening of the situation over the past 11 years. “It became more and more violent and more and more dangerous for us to work in the emergency room, simply because the reception and working conditions we had were getting worse and worse. People , when they wait eight or nine hours, freak out.” Increasing the resources allocated to the hospital would, according to the nurse, reduce violence. Perhaps a line of thought for consultation.

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