CEO Messages

Taking Steps to Protect Health Care Employees from Workplace Violence  

Getting kicked, scratched, pushed, or threatened has become far too commonplace for health care workers and staff in a hospital.

Recent studies indicate, for example, that 44% of nurses reported experiencing physical violence and 68% reported experiencing verbal abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic. Workplace violence has severe consequences for the entire health care system. Not only does violence cause physical and psychological injury for health care workers, workplace violence and intimidation make it more difficult for nurses, doctors, and other clinical staff to provide quality patient care. 

With more volume, a shrinking workforce, and visitors’ patience stretched thin by more than two years of mandates and restrictions, frustration is often misdirected at those who are just trying to do their jobs. Pandemic or no pandemic, your employees have a right to be treated with dignity and respect — at all times — and should be able to do their jobs without being physically or verbally abused.

And Hospital Council is committed to finding new tools that hospital leaders and their staff can use to de-escalate conflicts when possible and improve systems to respond to violence when it happens.

A webinar this week from Hospital Council on Active Threat Prevention and Response was designed specifically for health care workers, including medical and professional support staff, who may encounter potentially dangerous individuals. For those who did get the chance to attend, the objectives included:

  • Comparing/contrasting the nature of violence in varying settings
  • Understanding the progression of preparatory activities along a pathway to violence
  • Identifying the various warning signs an individual may exhibit during the planning phase
  • Learning effective response techniques in an active threat to ensure the safety of patients, staff, and visitors
  • Understanding how a facility can maintain critical operations during an extended response to an active threat
  • Learning how to facilitate coordination and communication with community partners during an active threat

Protecting health care employees from workplace violence has been — and will continue to be — a top priority for Hospital Council as we work to ensure a safe environment for all.