In 2018 I wrote a LinkedIn article titled “Three things every healthcare security manager should be doing.” I spoke about the need for healthcare security leaders to take ownership of workplace violence prevention (WPVP) efforts within their organizations. (read the full LinkedIn article here) In the last two years, my views on taking ownership of WPVP programs have only grown. I firmly believe security leaders must take ownership and lead their organizations to grow and develop violence prevention programs.
The challenge that I see is that we have not worked to make violence prevention a standard tool in our tool belt, and we have not developed a larger professional stance on the issues surrounding violence against healthcare workers. Ultimately, we have not taken ownership as a profession, and this lack of leadership is a missed opportunity for us to collectively take a stand and demonstrate the immense value we bring to this issue.
There are many ways in which our profession can take a lead in violence prevention. Three ways stand out to me as key to our success in establishing ownership:
First, we must begin building cross-organizational and cross-discipline collaboratives. Taking a lead means building teams that can tackle this problem comprehensively. It will take ideas from across the security profession along with other healthcare professionals to build more holistic solutions that work. We must build coalitions that involve nursing, risk management, occupational health, and others across our industry in order to increase the success of our efforts.
Second, we must start identifying centers of excellence. Just as our clinical partners identify centers of excellence, as security professionals we must identify organizations that are excelling in violence prevention and point to them as benchmarks for the industry. Benchmarking is a tool that easily translates to healthcare leaders and allows us to leverage the examples of others as a means to move our own programs and solutions forward.
Third, we must educate ourselves professionally and seek the development of curriculum by our security professional organizations, like the International Association for Healthcare Security & Safety (IAHSS), that allows us to grow our violence prevention skills. We must seek to certify a new generation of healthcare security leaders as violence prevention specialists and equip them with the tools to impact the whole of our industry.
These three steps are critical if we are to own violence prevention both within our industry and within our organizations. As a profession we owe it to ourselves and our colleagues to act to provide the knowledge and tools necessary to take the lead. The growing issue of violence in healthcare will only continue to garner the awareness of healthcare leaders. If we are not poised to take the lead, others will, and we will continue to sit on the sidelines as others produce solutions for us. This fight is our fight, and we must act together. The tools we can offer are critical to reducing acts of violence. If we allow others to take the lead, then our organizations will miss out on utilizing their best resource. Violence prevention is our business.
What are your thoughts? In what ways have you taken action to own and lead in your organization? Join the conversation in the comments below, and don’t forget to like, follow and share to support The Proactive Security Blog.