By Robin Hattersley Gray · December 15, 2016
Just because you’re in a position for only a few years, doesn’t mean you can’t get a lot accomplished. Just ask Lisa Terry, who formerly was the director of hospital police and transportation for University of North Carolina (UNC) Health Care, and is now a senior healthcare advisor for ODS Security Solutions.
In her two years at UNC before she retired, she and her team were able to upgrade officer training, reduce infant abduction prevention system false alarms, revise patient parking procedures, improve the handling of forensic patients, revise patient restraint policies and more. That’s why Terry has been named Campus Safety’s Hospital Director of the Year.
Terry is a veteran of the hospital security industry, which could be one reason why she was able to get so much accomplished in such a short amount of time.
Before going to UNC, she served as the chief of campus police and public safety of WakeMed Health and Hospitals in Raleigh, N.C., as chief of police and public safety with Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Va., and as ODS Security Solutions’ president of healthcare security and chief of company police.
Over the years she’s also been very active in the International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety (IAHSS) and ASIS International.
That being said, no matter how much experience she may have had when she started at UNC, it’s always a challenge to affect change in a new organization. Despite that obstacle, the sheer number of Terry’s accomplishments is impressive.
Hospital Security Officer Training Gets Big Boost
One of her most significant achievements was upgrading UNC Health’s sworn and nonsworn officer training program. Previously, her officers weren’t receiving enough of or the right kind of healthcare security training.
“We couldn’t find close training or find someone to provide that training, so we were using the community college, and it was one size fits all,” Terry says. “The classes that were taught were bare minimum, and if it were an eight-hour class, at times, some instructors would try to finish in four hours. We had to build our own syllabus [based on IAHSS training, Joint Commission requirements and other regulations].”
To address terrorism threats, she started sending her department’s officers to the Homeland Security Center for Domestic Preparedness with the goal of having all of UNC’s security officers trained in basic healthcare incident response by January 2017.
She also began sending her dispatchers to training run by the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO), where they were certified and accredited. Additionally, her department purchased a simulator so that her officers could be trained to respond to shootings and other stressful situations.
Department officers were also trained in the following areas:
- Juvenile minority sensitivity
- Legal updates
- Verbal de-escalation
- Customer service
- Officer safety and situational awareness
- Evidence collection
- Intelligence updates
- Pre-assaultive and deceptive behaviors
- Domestic violence
- Storm spotting
- Missing/abducted children
- Emotional survival
- HazMat, Taser
- Use of force/restraints/handcuffs
- Even more training is discussed below!
Because so much training was needed, Terry found it necessary to justify a higher-level, fully credentialed training coordinator to teach as well as facilitate all training classes.
Terry conducted an analysis to determine that this route was more cost effective than sending officers to outside training, which often was substandard. This approach also enabled her department to bring the training to the officers at their locations — a move that reduced time away from their posts.