How to Address and Prevent Violence

How Nurses Can Address and Prevent Violence on the Job

Running a hospital is never easy, but nurse managers and supervisors need to do their part when it comes to protecting their nurses and colleagues. The healthcare industry has experienced a rapid uptick in violence on the job in recent years. Over the past 10 years, the number of workplace-related violence has increased by 110% in the healthcare industry. There are many explanations for this development including a lack of mental health services for patients across the country, less staff and security at hospitals due to budget constraints, and more patients turning to hospitals because they don’t have health insurance. All of this can lead to potentially dangerous situations on the hospital floor.

That’s why nurse supervisors and their staff members need to work together to combat workplace violence. Here are just some of the ways to address these issues.

Encourage Employees to Report Workplace Violence

Many healthcare workers operate under the assumption that violence is just part of the job. A recent survey from the Journal of Emergency Nursing shows that despite rapid workplace violence, only 29% of nurses actually reported the abuse. Nurses should feel encouraged and supported when reporting abuse. If a nurse fails to report an incident, it makes it difficult for the facility and nurse managers to show the extent of the problem. Once violence is recognized in the workplace, steps can be taken to address the issue.

Set Up Defense Training Courses

Nurses are trained to provide healthcare, not to protect themselves in a violent encounter. But every nurse knows that things can always go awry when caring for strangers. That’s why it’s helpful to establish some kind of defense training course to help nurses deal with and respond to these kinds of incidents. Nurses can learn how to spot and prevent workplace violence before a situation goes from bad to worse.

Establishing this kind of training program may require some extra effort from the managers and supervisors on staff. They may need to show that workplace violence is systemic in order to get the program off the ground, which may mean reaching out to nurses and encouraging them to report and share their story of workplace violence and abuse.

Establish Protocol

Every nurse needs to know what to do in a situation in which they suspect a patient may become violent. Nurse managers should establish the protocol for workplace violence, so the nurse understands exactly what to do in this kind of situation. They may need to call for assistance, talk to a supervisor, or report the patient to the authorities.

Staying Vigilant

Even if the facility is unable to provide defense training for its staff members, nurses should still be aware of the potential risks that come with their job. Nurse managers should work with nurses to help them stay vigilant on the job by looking for certain patterns of behavior in patients and knowing what to do in response.

Workplace violence continues to be a major concern for many healthcare workers. The best solution to this problem tends to be more funding and security for the facility but securing more healthcare dollars isn’t always easy. The most important step nurses can take to combat workplace violence is to report these kinds of incidents, so the facility can address the problem accordingly.