Indicators of Workplace Violence
by, 09-20-2010 at 12:07 PM (6809 Views)
I was on my way to a meeting of Maryland nurse executives when I learned of the shooting at Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore. Just a few weeks earlier a Franklin Hospital nurse suffered facial injuries when she was beaten by a patient. In August, a nurse was punched, kicked and choked by a psychiatric patient at the Erie County Medical Center. We expect to feel safe in our workplace but it seems as though violence is erupting around us. Given the increased stress people are experiencing, due to the recession, home foreclosures, job loss and uncertainty; we are likely to see an increase in workplace violence.
While violence can occur in any healthcare setting, emergency departments are especially susceptible. According to a study conducted by the Emergency Nurses Association, nurses working nights and weekend are more likely to experience physical violence. The ENA is currently involved in a Violence Surveillance Study and developing best practices to reduce violence against nurses.
In the meantime, it is wise to be alert to potential clues that an environment or situation may be turning violent. Here are warning indicators of potential workplace violence outlined in theUSDA Handbook on Workplace Violence Prevention and Response.
1. Intimidating, harassing, bullying, belligerent, or other inappropriate and aggressive behavior.
2. Numerous conflicts with customers, co-workers, or supervisors.
3.Bringing a weapon to the workplace (unless necessary for the job), making inappropriate references to guns, or making idle threats about using a weapon to harm someone.
4. Statements showing fascination with incidents of workplace violence, statements indicating approval of the use of violence to resolve a problem, or statements indicating identification with perpetrators of workplace homicides.
5. Statements indicating desperation (over family, financial, and other personal problems) to the point of contemplating suicide.
6. Direct or veiled threats of harm.
7. Substance abuse.
8. Extreme changes in normal behaviors.