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Q&A: Webinar highlights steps being taken to reduce violence in hospitals

Healthcare Life Safety Compliance, October 1, 2018

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 Editor’s note: This Q&A was taken from a June 2017 webinar from the American Organization of Nursing Executives (AONE). In this program, Bonnie S. Michelman, CPP, CHPA, director of police, security, and outside services at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and Christina M. Stone, RN, PMHCNS-BC, nursing director at Massachusetts General Hospital, discussed current trends in healthcare violence and innovative tactics hospital security and health professionals are using to manage patients with aggressive behavior.

Q: How big of a problem is violence in healthcare?

Bonnie Michelman: Violence in healthcare has risen over the last several decades and it’s now considered to be one of the top three most dangerous occupations in the country, according to NIOSH, which is a division of OSHA. People who work in emergency departments nationally are physically assaulted once every two years on the average. The types of populations we have in our healthcare facilities we know has become somewhat of an epidemic, and it is critically important that we are all united in the way that we combat this and minimize the risk for violence.

Q: What kinds of violence are you seeing in your hospital?

BM: When we talk about violence, we’re really talking about a variety of types … It is not the active shooter situation or the rape situation or the stabbing situation; it is more, though, what we call the minor violence—it’s threats, it’s simple assaults, it’s intimidation, bullying, and harassment. It’s some variety of some hate crimes, verbal abuse, and even cybercrime. 

All of these types of violence affect people in different ways, and even that that is minor can have a great impact on people who work in the hospital, people who visit the hospital, and other patients, so it is very important that we’re unified in the way we approach how we tolerate violence.

This is an excerpt from a member only article. To read the article in its entirety, please login or subscribe to Healthcare Life Safety Compliance.