Workplace violence in the healthcare sector has hit an all-time high! Statistics show that, typically, the average nurse is assaulted on the job 1 to 3 times a year and very few facilities have anything more than a “shell” policy to address this problem and prevent injury to it’s staff.
Are you concerned about the problem of workplace violence effecting nurses and other medical professionals? Well, you’re not alone.
In fact, the healthcare industry has awakened to this very real problem in the past few years. Administrators have found that previous assumptions and policies about workplace violence, as it relates to hospitals and the medical industry in general, have done little to deter or prevent the countless injuries to nurses and caregivers. In fact, the problem has escalated to the point where the healthcare profession is ranked third among all non-law enforcement and security occupations in the number of incidents which occur!
Third! Among all other professions!
And, the sad fact is that medical professionals are not being targeted by their own co-workers – but by their patients – the very people that they are trying to help!
Many leaders, as-well-as staff-duty nurses who work with patients everyday, are calling for more workplace violence self-defense training geared toward nurses and patient care professionals. Unfortunately, most administrators confuse self defense with fighting and therefore are concerned about the possibility of more violence if their nurses and staff members were trained in self defense tactics.
As a way to show the difference between fighting and actual defensive tactics training geared toward workplace violence prevention, here are 4 areas of workplace violence defensive tactics training that have absolutely nothing to do with fighting – and everything to do with empowering doctors and nurses to avoid, evade, and prevent a dangerous workplace violence attack from hurting them or others that they are responsible for.
- 1) Strategic Positioning. This is similar to what police officers are taught when knocking on doors, interacting with drivers during a traffic stop, etc. Nurses can be taught to adjust where they stand or position themselves relative to their patients to make it difficult for the person to hurt them if they lashed out and became violent.
- 2) Body language. By becoming more aware of the conscious and unconscious interpretations that we can have when we see different body language cues, the caregiver can learn to avoid those that might trigger a negative response – while also choosing cues that can easily and effectively defuse a potentially hostile workplace violence situation.
- 3) Vocal skills. This is the same as body language but where we can consciously and deliberately control the use of our voice. Speech patterns, rhythm, and vocal intonation can all be powerful tools for defending yourself in a workplace violence encounter.
- 4) Environmental Control. Often, caregivers are trapped in a violent situation because of the layout of the clinic in which they work. Simple changes to your work environment – from exam rooms to customer service counters – can be made that will aid in avoidance, evasion, and escape tactics, while also serving to control the flow of action should a physical workplace violence attack occur.
As you can see, if you’re really looking for viable solutions to helping your nursing staff to be able to employ self defense tactics to deal with violence in the workplace, there are many more options available than merely teaching them how to fight!
What if you could get this type of training while also saving your organization from the financial and other losses from lost-time, employee turn-over, legal liability, and negative PR that often arise out of incidents involving violence in the workplace? How? By instituting defensive training tactics that both keeps your staff safe AND maintains a high level of professionalism and liability control!