In a survey conducted for the American College of Emergency Physicians, a majority of the 3,539 doctors polled said they had been the victims of workplace violence recently.
The Houston-based group International Safety Center in July 2017 released surveillance data from hospitals in 2015 that showed a marked increase in injuries from sharps and needlesticks sustained by training physicians (i.e., residents and interns) compared to 2014, and an overall increase in injuries sustained in the operating room.
The Joint Commission has released Sentinel Event Alert 59, which addresses violence—physical and verbal—against healthcare workers. Patient Safety Monitor Journal spoke with Victoria Fennel, of Compass Clinical Consulting, about the alert and healthcare’s culture of violence.
The purpose of the new alert is to help hospitals and other healthcare organizations better recognize workplace violence directed by patients and visitors toward healthcare workers and better prepare healthcare staff to address workplace violence, both in real time and afterward.
Healthcare organizations (HCO) must get proactive about preventing, investigating, and resolving sexual harassment claims and violations.
Tolerance may add to problem, expert says.
Experts on healthcare safety say nonverbal body language known as “behaviors of concern” can precede actual violence, and if caught early, de-escalation tactics can be used to intervene and keep the situation from becoming violent.
While hospitals do their best to limit the number of so-called “never events” that happen to their patients, recent events show that there is still work to be done.
In patient safety circles, “never events” are mistakes that should simply never happen—seemingly commonsense mistakes such as a surgeon accidentally leaving a scalpel inside a patient, a newborn infant given to the wrong parents, or any death of a patient due to the gross negligence of a caregiver.
The International Association for Healthcare Security & Safety Foundation (IAHSS) in August 2017 released a report to address strategies to prevent workplace violence in healthcare. Those familiar with the healthcare industry won’t be surprised by its conclusion: Healthcare facilities need to take steps now to mitigate violent incidents.
“We are in an environment where underlying violence is considered acceptable. We are expected not only to survive, but turn right around, respond, and treat casualties.”