Unlikely Suspects: Workplace Violence in the Healthcare Industry

When the average person enters a hospital setting or medical facility for treatment, they are typically more concerned about an illness or injury causing harm than a threat to their physical safety. As doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals, however, you are more aware of the rising potential for danger and must be prepared to mitigate these risks to keep yourself and other people on the premises safe.

3 Common Types of Workplace Violence in a Hospital Setting

Lateral Violence

Lateral violence, also known as “nurse bullying” is often seen between a nurse or hospital worker and another staff member of higher authority. Verbal abuse, threatening body language, and withholding pertinent information are a few of the psychological forms of abuse taking place.

Violence Towards Staff from Patients and Families

Loss of a loved one, especially if perceived as by the fault of the doctor or nurse on duty in your medical facility, can drive families to do things they would never do on an average day. Active shooter scenarios have been triggered by grieving spouses, returning to the facility where their husband or wife passed away for vengeance. Patients have become aggressive towards nurses who prevent them from eating certain foods or leaving the hospital when they want to go home.

Violence Between Family Members

The stress associated with having a loved one in the hospital in critical condition can cause family drama – sometimes leading to violence among family members.

A Broken System

While all healthcare professionals face the risk of falling victim to workplace violence, nurses are notorious for failing to report their victimization. Most often, they refer to the violent act as “just part of the job” and diminish the impact it has on their lives. It is this line of thinking that leaves the healthcare setting more vulnerable to future threats.

Accepting violent behavior as a “norm” should never be an option. Instead, facilities should have a safety program in place to encourage all professionals to report such behavior and prepare them for what to do in a workplace violence scenario.

How to Get Started with a Safety Program in Your Healthcare Facility

The first step in mitigating the risks in your health care setting is undergoing a Security Vulnerability Assessment (SVA). The SVA is a comprehensive assessment of your facility and infrastructure that provides key information from which recommendations can be made for areas of opportunity.

At Universal Safety & Security Solutions, we provide a wide range of security consulting and training services designed to prepare your organization for potential security threats. Contact us today for more information and to set up a Security Vulnerability Assessment for your hospital or medical facility.