According to Outpatient Surgery, the American Nurses Association (ANA) has called for a zero tolerance policy for bullying and workplace violence.
The ANA has called for all nurses and healthcare field workers to create a “culture of respect” and implement a zero tolerance policy for bullying or violence.
“Taking this clear and strong position is critical to ensure the safety of patients, nurses and other health care workers,” says ANA President Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, in a statement. “Enduring physical or verbal abuse must no longer be accepted as part of a nurse’s job.”
A recent survey of close to 4,000 registered nurses found that almost a quarter of respondents had been physically assaulted as work by a patient or a patient’s family. Half of the respondents had been bullied by a peer or someone of a higher authority as well.
The policy is also asking employees to report incidents of violence, hold educational programs to learn procedures, create a sense of “situational awareness” and develop a comprehensive violence prevention program.
In addition, the policy also calls for educational sessions on how to handle situations concerning bullying and how to facilitate effective conflict resolution.
The healthcare industry involves more than just nurses though, encompassing a wide range of medical professionals including doctors, surgeons and ambulance paramedics. Healthcare encompasses many facilities including hospitals, clinics and nursing homes as well.
Although construction and the service industry are often thought of as the most dangerous fields, healthcare and social workers are more apt to be injured on the job than any other worker.
According to a 2010 OSHA report, these two industries reported more injuries and illnesses than any other private industry sector, 653,900 cases in total.
Nursing aids, orderlies and attendants had the highest rate of musculoskeletal disorders of all occupations in 2010.
During 2010, healthcare and social assistance workers were the victims of approximately 11,370 assaults, a 13 percent increase from 2009, according to OSHA statistics.
Healthcare workers face many serious safety and health hazards, including bloodborne pathogens, biological hazards, chemical and drug exposure, as well as repetitive and lifting injuries.
In terms of workplace violence, known risk factors to look for in a facility can be found here.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recommends that each facility have a comprehensive violence prevention program, and understand the signs of trouble, both on an internal and external level.
MasteryTCN has a range of e-learning courses that can help healthcare workers develop skills in conflict resolution, workplace communication, preventing harassment, and workplace safety. A few examples include:
- Hazard Communication in Healthcare Facilities
- Managing Workplace Conflicts, Healthcare Version
- Cultural Sensitivity and Diversity in Healthcare
- Stressful Workplace Relationships
- Bloodborne Pathogens Training for Employees
- PPE for Ebola and Other Hazards: Protecting Healthcare Workers
These videos highlight some of the many issues healthcare workers face as daily occurrences.
A safe workplace free of violence and health risks is best for productivity, engagement and overall employee happiness.