Violence in Healthcare

Violence in Healthcare: How Nurses Can Protect Themselves.

Nursing just like any other profession experiences  some challenges and in this case, violence. Violence in healthcare is a major demerit experienced by nurses. This is why we’ll expound more on violence in healthcare and how nurses can protect themselves. To be able to protect oneself from violence there are other activities you can do in correlation to that.

These include attending safety training programs offered by the organization, participating in safety health and security committees, taking part in employee complaint or suggestion procedures and reporting violent incidents.

Ways to Avoid Violence as a Nurse.

It’s important to get involved in workplace violence prevention

programs to familiarise with program policies.  Dressing for safety also goes a long way in guarding yourself against violence in the work place. This involves stuff like tying your hair backwards to avoid easy pulling, avoid necklaces and earrings as well. Avoid clothes that are too loose or too tight.

Being aware of your work environment entails being aware of both static and changing aspects for instance. room configuration, doors, lights and weather and noise levels. Notice the emergency exit doors and emergency phone numbers while changing work areas. This is a way of identifying environmental risk factors for violence.

As a nurse, take your time to learn about your patient’s behaviours. A higher percentage of violence against nurses is committed by patients. Its therefore important to identify both verbal and non-verbal cues namely: Speaking loudly or yelling, swearing, threatening tone of voice, physical appearance (neglected clothing), arms held tight across the chest, tight fists, heavy breathing, a scared look signifying fear or high anxiety, a fixed stare, aggressive, throwing objects, quick changes in behaviour and indications of intoxication (alcohol or drugs).

It is important to pay attention to your instincts by being aware of your own feelings and responses. The way you express yourself can influence how people will respond. Another important aspect of self-awareness is how cultural background makes us view the world. These views affect how we respond to patients and co-workers and in turn, affect how they respond to us.

Healthcare organizations need to have violence risk assessment tools that can be used to evaluate individuals for potential violence. These include: Triage Tool: to assess a patient’s potential danger to others or to themselves.

Indicator for Violent Behaviour: a list of five observable behaviours that indicate danger to others. Danger Assessment Tool: to assess the risk to nurses and other personnel signs of potentially violent behaviour.

It is the responsibility of healthcare organizations to establish protective policies for staff working outside the facility. Some of the policies include:

(a)  Always having a cell phone.

(b)  Be sure someone knows where you are among others.

(c)   Staffing patterns to avoid nurses working alone.

(d)   Restriction of public movement in hospitals

(e)   Come up with a system that alerts the security personnel when violence is threatened.

(f) Pin flag charts of high-risk patients.

Violence Policies to Prevent Violence in Healthcare

  1. You should not work alone if you feel uncomfortable around a patient. It is okay to request another nurse or a security guard to accompany you if it involves entering some rooms.
  1. Identify high-risk patients and flag charts. This helps even other nurses to take precautions when treating such patients.
  1. Advocate for safety measures both inside and outside the hospital.
  1. Always carry a panic device with you in your bag in case of emergencies.
  1. Make sure your work personnel are trained to cope with both physical and verbal abuse.

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