The violence epidemic in healthcare continues to increase as report after report and study after study document the rise in assaults on healthcare workers. The numbers are staggering. According to reports by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 71% of all nonfatal occupational injuries involving intentional injury by another person occur in the healthcare industry (Coutrè, 2019). This only includes reported injuries that required days away from work and does not account for the hundreds of verbal and physical assaults that occur daily and do not require days away from work. The reality is that nurses, doctors, and healthcare workers are struggling daily with physical and verbal abuse and healthcare leaders struggle daily with finding effective solutions. The solution, while seemingly allusive, is not difficult. A comprehensive and effective workplace violence prevention program is attainable for any organization.
When building an effective workplace violence prevention program three key areas are critical for consideration and development within your overall program framework.
First is the training, education and engagement you have with your employees across all areas of your organization.
Second is the tools you give your employees for both proactive and reactive response to violence as well as the means to report workplace violence concerns.
Third is the means used by organizational leadership to collaboratively oversee the workplace violence program and the agility with which the organization can take action to improve the overall program.
The goal of this three-part workplace violence model is to provide an organizational framework for continuous monitoring and continuous improvement of workplace violence prevention. The goal should never be to implement a onetime, single mode solution, as a one-and-done response to the asymmetrical reality that is violence against healthcare workers. The idea of focusing efforts within the three main areas of concern in the overall response exists to ensure the organization in constantly reviewing and improving the way their employees are trained and engaged in reducing workplace violence. The tools and resources given to the employees for proactive and reactive response to workplace violence, and the way organizational leadership stays informed and makes changes in the overall program to enable better training, engagement, and response work together to decrease incidents.
Despite the enormity and complexity of the workplace violence issues in healthcare, there are practical and effect responses. Leaders who are willing to invest the time and resources can make a significant impact on the kind of environment employees are subjected to. The current conditions care providers are forced to endure are not only dangerous, but also have a negative impact on the quality care patients receive. Care providers should never have to fear coming to work. The good news is that the organizational environment can be made safer. The best news is that violence can be prevented.
Coutrè, L. (2019). Healthcare workers face violence ‘epidemic’. Modern Healthcare. Retrieved from https://www.modernhealthcare.com/providers/healthcare-workers-face-violence-epidemic.