“Part of the Job”- Recognition does not equal acceptance.

Recognition does not equal acceptance.



A rookie police officer, fresh off of field training, is punched in the face by a suspected drunk driver. The police officer is not injured, bar the swelling around the cheekbone, in which she was struck.

Turns out, the suspected drunk driver’s blood alcohol content revealed a .079 on the breathalyzer.


Because the law requires the BAC to be .08 or above to be considered DWI/DUI, her sergeant says, “Cut ‘em loose.” Bewildered, the rookie asks the sarge about being punched in the face by the drunk. The sergeant tells her, “You’re a cop, it’s just part of the job. Besides, you weren’t hurt that bad.”


A nurse, working in the emergency department, is proving care to a person complaining of generalized weakness, loss of appetite, fever and chills. As the nurse is taking a set of vitals, the patient coughs in the nurse’s face. Chagrined, the patient apologizes. Lab work returns, and it is discovered the patient had Ebola. Now facing the unknown, the nurse tells her supervisor she was exposed. The nurse is told to, “Suck it up, it’s part of the job.”


Upon arriving at the scene of a motor vehicle crash, firefighters were unaware of the hazardous material in the back of a pickup truck. The liquid was spilled, splashed, and unknowingly transferred from the vehicles and ground to the firefighters themselves.  

A short time later the firefighters became ill from the chemicals in which they were exposed. When they sought treatment for the illness and injury suffered from that particular call, they were told by their chief, “Sorry, but exposure to HazMat is part of the job.” Furthermore, he told them if they didn’t like it, they were not cut out for the job anyway…


Recognition of a hazard is different than blatant acceptance. As you read the examples above, it became instantly obvious that in the “real world” none of those are plainly “accepted” as “part of the job.” Each hazard within the ridiculous examples, is recognized, has training and equipment, and department policies, to assist in mitigating the danger to the employee.


Pause and reflect for a moment, on all the hazards in the workplace, for EMS, Fire, and nursing. We have proper lifting and moving training to mitigate back injury. There is annual blood-borne pathogen training, department policies, AND all of the PPE, mandated reporting, for mitigating the risk of exposure or contracting some form of communicable disease. Driving courses, department policies, seatbelts, lights and sirens, to help mitigate the risks involved with driving emergency vehicles.


In the examples, ridiculous as they are, how many cops would be on the street if they were told being criminally assaulted was part of the job, and they had no recourse?


How many nurses would work in a job where exposure to an infectious disease was part of the job.


How many firefighters would remain, if they were told an unmitigated risk of being sickened or killed from HazMat was just part of the job?


The silly, senseless, inanity, of the hazard that is criminal assault, being force-fed to front line staff as, “part of the job” is now an ingrained part of our culture in healthcare. Hell, people are shamed into silence after being assaulted on the job. Changed forever, is the victim of it.


Here is the skinny. YES, violence is present. It IS a hazard. No different from any other recognized hazard on the job. The difference is acceptance as a hazard versus part of the job. We train for other recognized hazards, have various forms of protective equipment for pretty much every flippin’ hazard BUT violence.


When one does due diligence, regarding the subject of violence in medicine, they come to the same conclusion; It is THE leading cause of injury, leading to lost work-time in all of healthcare. However, it receives the least amount of attention in training for, and care after, than any other hazard on the job. Violence and assaults are most certainly a hazard in pre-hospital and in-hospital patient care situations. Do not be compelled to accepted as “part of the job”, having no recourse. People are being arrested around the country, convicted of crimes, for assaulting healthcare providers.


Saving yours, while you save others is more than our tag line. It’s culture change. #SYWYSO