Improve the environment, improve the care

So many times, I have struggled with healthcare executives who seem to think that workplace violence prevention somehow interferes with the mission to provide high-quality care. That assertion is absolute bullshit. I apologize for the foul language, but I feel the need to be blunt. The truth is the complete opposite; proper workplace violence prevention improves patient care. These goals are not mutually exclusive; they are mutually supportive.

When I say mutually supportive, what I mean is violence prevention efforts support improving patient outcomes. Clinically integrated violence prevention allows us to reduce negative outcomes like restraints or seclusion in favor of improving positive outcomes like reducing length of stay. These quality care impacts give us a unique opportunity to measure violence prevention in terms of positive patient outcomes.

The most gratifying opportunity here is that we can improve patient outcomes and employee engagement. We know that improvements in violence prevention enhance the engagement of our frontline clinical staff which then improves their ability to engage with their patients. This presents the dual benefit of improving positive patient outcomes while reducing negative employee challenges like high turnover rates and employee burnout. Additionally, we can see positive benefits in the reduction of worker compensation claims and lost or reduced productivity.

In the grand scheme of the workplace violence prevention discussion, it seems to me that this is a missed opportunity for inflection. If it is our goal to move violence prevention efforts forward, we must point to the benefits to employee engagement and the benefits to patient care. These two points of justification help us to pull in increased support and resourcing. It is a missed opportunity to focus on only one side of this equation. Workplace violence prevention is good for our employees and our patients.

What are your thoughts? Have you used the improved patient outcomes argument to justify resources for workplace violence prevention? Do you see the benefit of both sides of this argument? Join the conversation in the comments below, and don’t forget to like, follow, and share to support the proactive security blog.

4 Thoughts

  1. Couldn’t agree more! I would also say “Create a safer environment, improve patient care.” When clinicians feel safe, care is improved. That’s been proven.

    I have been working over the last few years with hospitals who have embraced our ferromagnetic detection tools all around the country and the message is clear – the added layer has not been a negative… it’s been an overwhelming positive.

    Now we just need to get some white papers out there so you dont just have to take my word for it. 😄

  2. Hard to imagine executives would disagree with this philosophy. I’m guessing it’s more of a disagreement with the proposed tactics for violence prevention?

    1. Peter, I think a big part of it is our (healthcare security professionals) historical inability to articulate this connection well. I think we’ve culturally accepted a segregation between security work and patient care, and that keeps us for seeing the mutually supportive benefits.

      1. Makes sense…love what you’re doing in this space. I regularly read your work and share with my colleagues.

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