How to Protect Yourself as a Nurse

Lilianna Parker

How to Protect Yourself as a Nurse

How you can protect yourself as a nurse

Fabiah Blog is supported by Fabiah.com, where you can purchase affordable, comprehensive malpractice insurance for nurses and healthcare professionals. If you are not already insured, you are uncertain about purchasing a personal policy, or would simply like to learn more about personal medical malpractice insurance, then please read this article. Now, here’s how to protect yourself as a nurse and why it is important. 


Having to protect yourself as a nurse is not usually the first thing that people think of when considering this field. However, this does not mean that it is not important. In fact, it can be extremely important depending on what nursing position you have. Dealing with violent patients or other individuals can be a very real part of the job for certain types of nurses. This can be especially true if you work in psychiatric units, prisons, and even nursing homes. Regardless of where you work though, it is a good idea to know how to protect you and your co-workers. Here is how you can protect yourself as a nurse. 

Why Knowing How to Protect Yourself is Important for Nurses

Although self protection is not something that most nurses consider when taking the job, that does not mean that it isn’t important. Some nursing positions may be more likely to involve violent patients than others. These positions could include but are not limited to nursing home positions, psychiatric wards, and nurses who work in prisons. 

However, due to the fact that nurses often work with many people over the course of their shift it is still important that all nurses know how to protect themselves and their co-workers. After all, you never know when a potentially dangerous situation could arise. It is important to note that these protection tactics should be in the back of your head just in case you need them, but they should never be dwelled on. This could cause some unneeded anxiety. 

How You Can Prevent Violence and Protect Yourself

There are some ways that you can prevent a violent situation from taking place. The first is remaining calm and using language that makes the patient feel respected and understood. This prevents situations from escalating into something violent. You could use phrases such as “I understand that you feel angry, sad, etc about this situation” or “ I understand the problem that you are having, here is how I (or somebody else) can help”. After this you should definitely follow through with your promises, or get someone who can help. 

In addition to this there are a few practices that you can do to prevent a patient from hurting you. The first is to always keep your back towards the door and your front always facing the potentially violent individual. This prevents them from grabbing you or hitting you from behind. Keeping your eyes on them also prevents them from making any unexpected moves or advances. Similarly, you should avoid wearing easily grabbable clothing or jewelry. You should keep at least two arms length from individuals who you think may become violent as well.

How You Can Protect Your Co-Workers

There are some things that you can do to protect your co-workers in addition to protecting yourself. The first is marking the charts of potentially violent patients. This alerts anyone going into that room to be vigilant and work to prevent any altercations. The next thing that you can do to protect your co-workers is offer to join them when they need to go into that room. People are less likely to react with violence if they have more than one person around. 

What Resources Are Available For Nurses?

Luckily, most healthcare facilities have resources for their staff that prevents violence and protects their workers if workplace violence occurs. These include but are not limited to panic buttons, training, and additional safety measures both inside and outside the healthcare facility. Of course, if you feel that a safety measure in your workplace is lacking then you should speak up to the relevant personnel about implementing important safety measures. 

The Important Takeaway

Knowing how to protect yourself and your co-workers is crucial for any healthcare worker. Although some medical positions are more likely to involve violent patients, nurses often work with many patients everyday. For this reason, it is important to have some safety tips in the back of your mind to ensure workplace safety. However, you should not dwell on safety tips or training, because this will only give you unneeded anxiety during your shift. Luckily though, most medical facilities have safety measures and resources in place for their staff. These typically include things like help buttons, proper lighting in and around the medical facility, and required safety training. The most important thing for any nurse is that they are comfortable and safe in their work environment.