Stabbed due to shortage

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‘Should have refused’: Worker gets stabbed on duty—asked to finish shift because they’re ‘short-staffed’

'wanting to be a team player.'


Phil West


Posted on Jul 29, 2023

Nursing can be an intense line of work. Take the example of a nurse who said she was stabbed in the middle of the shift—and then was made to finish out that shift because the unit was already short workers.

The story comes from redditor u/Joygernaut, contributing to the r/antiwork subreddit. The nurse shared a story involving their time in the psych ward of a hospital and their dangerous encounter with a patient while there.

Their account begins, “I’m a nurse. And a couple years after nursing school I was pulled to work in the psych ward for a few hours, because of critical short staffing. Never worked there, should have refused, but new nurse and wanting to be a team player.”

It continued, “Was told by senior psych nurse to ask a client returning from a day pass to put his personal belongings and have been to go and lock up(the belongings, not the patient). He puts his wallet, keys, cigarettes into the bin, and I noticed he’s holding something in his hand and slightly turning away like he’s hiding something (I’m thinking it’s drugs or cigs). I asked him what he’s got in his hand, and he lunges at me and slashes my leg with a box cutter.”

The nurse credits “thick thighs” for the injury not being worse, but notes that it was a 4-inch gash requiring a dozen stitches to close up. If that’s not alarming enough, consider what the nurse reported next.

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“After I’m done in the emergency department, I go back to my unit to [debrief] with my unit manager. She asks if I’m OK, I tell her it doesn’t hurt much I’m just a little shaken up. She then promptly asked if I would please finish my shift out on the MedSurg ward, because we are short-staffed.”

The nurse then concludes, “This is how nurses are treated,” adding that the patient, who was put in seclusion immediately after the attack, was never arrested.

“Wow,” began one commenter, “most of my family work in healthcare so I can see first hand how it can be stressful.”

That person added, “It definitely takes a special type of person to be able to do it. Your manager was incompetent but I think the overall issue is within the system itself, and the constant short staffing.”

Another person, responding to that comment, cracked, “If only there was some centralized group that had massive amounts of resources available to them and access to all the records of hospitals so they can tell which hospitals needs more support.”

One had choice words for the manager on the nurse’s behalf, saying, “I would have absolutely blown up on the stupid piece of sh*t that asked me to finish my shift after getting stabbed.”

Others used the occasion to find fault more broadly with the healthcare system.

A redditor offered, “Incompetent managers and treating nurses like work horses are a big part of how the system is broken. There are exceptions, but most of the managers I worked under either got into management because they couldn’t stand patient care, or have a pure administration background and don’t know the job.”

Another said, “My wife used to work in a state run psych hospital. They didn’t even have security, the nurses were the security. And yes there were plenty of violent patients including murderers.”

That person added, “Seemed like every week I’d hear about a nurse having to go to the emergency room after an attack. She finally quit when she got pregnant. No job is worth that kind of risk.”

The Daily Dot reached out to the nurse via Reddit DM.

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*First Published: Jul 29, 2023, 6:32 pm CDT