It is no secret that violence against healthcare workers has been a problem for quite some time; however, this troubling issue has grown exponentially since the start of the pandemic. Recent studies indicate that 44% of nurses reported experiencing physical violence and 68% reported experiencing verbal abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic. Further, a 2021 survey found that 63% of respondents did not feel safe at work, and 70% reported experiencing verbal assault multiple times. According to OSHA, 75% of the of the 25,000 reported workplace assaults occurred in the health care and social services setting. The reality is, many of these events occur and are never reported. Those unfamiliar with daily events in healthcare institutions may be shocked to learn that violent altercations are so common that most employees in the field consider them to be simply part of the job. But, it shouldn’t be this way. Violence against health care workers needs national attention, and it must be publicized as unacceptable.
Many ask “But, what can we do?”
Institutions can take action by reporting these occurrences within their organizations and by developing policies and procedures for staff to know the process for reporting and activating their chain of command- including when to notify law enforcement. It is also important to educate staff on de-escalation techniques and to have proper back-up when these events occur. Actions will have to be a group effort and will require collaboration on multiple levels. Events of violence are grossly under-reported, but by reporting these events, we can bring awareness and provide concrete data to key stakeholders to stress the urgency of policy change, awareness and zero tolerance campaigns.
I have a good friend in the worker’s compensation industry and his motto is – Our goal for safety is that everyone comes home from work the same or better as when they arrived. This is of utmost importance, and why it’s extremely critical we rally for awareness and create actions together that prevent these events of violence.
As your remarkable partner, we at Inspirien are working to support this endeavor by highlighting Violence Against Healthcare Workers and making it one of the topics of our annual Risk Seminar this year.
Inspirien offers education to help you meet regulatory requirements and provide your staff with valuable information on Violence issues such as:
Violence in the Workplace
These classes are offered to Inspirien insureds and the Healthcare Workers’ Compensation Fund members. For more information on how to become an Inspirien partner, email a member of our team at email@example.com.
In addition to our annual seminar and classes, several campaigns support raising awareness around Workplace Violence and Nurse Abuse, including one by the American Nurses Association. For more information about this nationwide campaign and to access the resources, visit https://www.nursingworld.org/practice-policy/work-environment/end-nurse-abuse/.
Article contributed by Wendy Schurette, Risk Consultant for Inspirien.