8 Workplace Violence Prevention Strategies for Nurses
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends healthcare professionals following these eight practices to protect themselves.
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In many healthcare facilities, nurses are the employees with the most direct contact with patients. They are the ones holding a woman’s hand and providing emotional support during labor. They are the ones changing dressings and swapping out bedpans. They are the ones comforting family members during a loved one’s health battles. This also means they are often the target of patient violence.
Healthcare employees, particularly nurses, are at an increased risk for workplace violence. Earlier this month, we covered some of the statistics on workplace violence in healthcare, including the fact that from 2002 to 2013, incidents of serious workplace violence (those requiring days off for the injured) were four times more common in healthcare than in the overall private industry.
Since this issue isn’t going away, nurses must prepare themselves for the possibility of workplace violence through education and training.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the federal agency responsible for conducting research to find effective ways to reduce workplace injuries and illnesses through training, has many prevention resources for all sorts of employees, including those in retail, construction and healthcare.
One very helpful resource is this completely free violence prevention course to help healthcare workers better understand the scope and nature of violence in the workplace. It includes definitions, statistics, risk factors, prevention strategies for organizations and prevention strategies for nurses.
Perhaps most helpful within the course are scenario-based training exercises that include people acting out a hospital security incident. In one scenario, a patient makes a sexual advance at a nurse. In another, a home health nurse is threatened by a patient. In a third, a post-partum nurse is assaulted by a patient’s family member. You can check out all of the case studies here.
Each example includes incident details, visuals, a video clip, appropriate responses and a quick quiz on your learnings.
While the prevention strategies provided by NIOSH are directed towards nurses, all healthcare employees can benefit from them. View this article’s slideshow to see how you can protect yourself.