By: Diana A., Olutayo A., Rashidat A., and Michael A.
Nurses expect to work in an environment where they will be treated with civility, kindness, dignity and respect. However, the hard truth is bullying and workplace violence are serious problems in healthcare.
While nursing is a profession dedicated to helping others, the highly charged nature of many of the environments in which nurses work in can lead to situations where emotions boil over.
Violence of any form should not be tolerated from any source. Nurses and employers must work together to create strategies that will shift the culture to one of civility and respect where bullying is not tolerated and where violence prevention and safety are a priority.
Risk Factors for Workplace Violence
Workplace violence is any act of threat or physical harm, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening or disruptive behavior that happen at or outside of the workplace.
Workplace violence include verbal abuse, assault, and even homicide.
Working with volatile, unstable patients or colleagues.
Working in an isolated workplace.
Providing services and care to people.
Working with or around alcohol or intoxicated people.
Time of day or location, such as late night in a high crime area.
Preventing Workplace Violence
Nearly 2 million Americans report being victims of workplace violence annually. To prevent workplace violence, hospitals must:
Set a zero tolerance policy.
Encourage employees to report violent incidents.
Develop a comprehensive violence prevention program.
Creating this type of culture helps protect the heath, safety and wellness of nurses, which is in everyone’s best interest.
According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), workplace violence typically falls into one of the four following categories:
Type I—Criminal Intent
In this moderately violent incident, the offender has no legitimate connection to the hospital or its employees. Type I violence has typically related to another crime like burglary, shoplifting, or trespassing. Terrorism also falls under this category.
When the violent person features a valid relationship with the clinic or hospital, for instance, a client, patron, subject, student, or prisoner, and becomes violent while being assessed or treated by the nurse at the hospital or clinic.
Type III-Worker on Worker
The perpetrator of Type III violence is an employee or past employee of the medical center who attacks or threatens other employee(s) or past employee(s) within the workplace
Type IV-Personal Relationship
In these cases, the perpetrator usually doesn’t have a relationship with the clinic but encompasses a relationship with the intended victim. This category includes victims of the force who are assaulted or threatened while at work.
You cannot stop all workplace violence, but we must do all we can to prevent some. All employers, by law, to protect their employees. OSHA’s general duty clause states that each one employer, no matter the size, must provide an area of employment “free from recognized hazards that are generating or are likely to cause death or serious harm.” In terms of workplace violence, here are fascinating things all employers should do to defend workers from workplace violence
What You Can Do
Have a written policy toward workplace violence and develop a written prevention program.
Provide workplace violence training emphasizing what to look for, what to report, and what to try during an actual incident.
Encourage reporting of concerns or specific incidences. Make reporting easy and, potentially, confidential.
Consider using outside expertise to supply threat assessment training and physical security upgrades.