The CDC National Institute Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) defines workplace violence as “violent acts (including physical assaults and threats of assaults) directed towards persons at work or on duty”.
The U.S. Department of Labor defines workplace violence as an action (verbal, written, or physical aggression) intended to cause (or is capable of causing) death or serious bodily injury or damage to property.
The Sentinel Event Alert is a publication of the Joint Commission, and issue 59 focuses on physical and verbal violence, but explains that “there is a whole spectrum of overlapping behaviors that undermine a culture of safety”. Each incident of violence or credible threat to healthcare workers warrants creating an incident report, and notifying:
law enforcement (where necessary)
Action Products for decades have advocated for nursing professionals, and it is very disconcerting to read articles such as this one in a recent issue of Modern Healthcare: Healthcare workers face violence epidemic
Federal data shows, as author Lydia Coutre points out, workplace violence happens at far greater rates in the healthcare sector than it does in the private sector overall. In 2018, Cleveland Clinic confiscated 30,000 weapons from patients and visits in the Northeast Ohio region alone! The problem, Coutre explains, is that hospitals must strike a balance between security concerns and offering easily accessibility to patients and their visitors.
The Joint Commission offers a Workplace Violence Prevention Resources for Healthcare page where nurses can turn for information and support.
The Joint Commission also provides a printable infographic Take a Stand: No More Violence to Health Care Workers that can be printed and posted in facilities.