“Workplace Violence” (Legal Clinic, October 2018) was very informative in outlining areas of responsibility for the prevention of workplace violence involving staff. I found it eye-opening that violence against health care workers is considered to be greatly underreported. In my own work experience, most verbal abuse is dismissed as a side effect of a patient's condition, medication, or emotional distress. My concern is acts of physical violence against staff. The effects of physical injury cannot be erased once the patient regains clarity and apologizes for her or his actions.
When it comes to personal safety and preventing violence in the workplace, I feel that staff should be required to attend classes addressing crisis intervention. At my workplace, classes are offered for both non-violent and violent crisis intervention. The major focus of these classes is on using verbal communication to prevent a situation from escalating into a physical altercation. There are also class offerings by security, with the majority of the security staff being licensed law enforcement officers. These classes address techniques to block physical blows and maneuvers to break free from holds. I have taken these classes and find they provide useful information to help maintain personal safety. However, these classes are not mandatory and some staff exhibit reduced interest in attending “extra” classes.
Classes that focus on interventions to prevent physical altercations in the health care setting should be a larger focus of staff education. I feel that by better preparing staff, we could see a reduction in the number of physical assaults that leave lasting effects on our health care workers.
Jennifer Whaley, RN