It’s part of nurses’ job to deal with different types of patients and manage different emotions within their families, but it shouldn’t be part of the job being attacked by them, by anyone. That’s why we are here one more time, writing about the impact violence has on healthcare workers. But more importantly, what to do about it.
Nurses are stressed, overwhelmed and in survivor mode
Workplace violence can take different forms and here are some of them:
- Verbal agressions
- Verbal threats
- Physical aggressions
- Destruction of assets, vandalism
- Stealing of assets
- Obstruction of care
- Threatening with weapons
- Killing or severely wounding a healthcare worker or patient
- Targeting with shelling
- Targeting with stones
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics healthcare workers are five times more likely to get injured at work than other industries overall.
Violence against healthcare workers impacts the entire healthcare system:
- It causes physical and psychological damage
- Decreases job satisfaction and productivity
- Nurses have a harder time performing their job which can impact patient care as well
- It makes the facility more likely to experience higher turnover rates
- Concentrating is harder as healthcare workers may be easily distracted by patients, family members or any sign that may be alarming. They are on survivor mode.
- Not to mention the economic impact this may have on the organization (here’s another entry blog discussing this topic).
But not everything is lost, how to take action?
We are not just going to sit here and present you numbers and point out the problem — which is important to be aware of but it’s more important to do something about it — . Therefore, here are some suggestions in order to improve the mental health and wellness of healthcare workers:
- Staff should have time and space to rest. Short breaks, private areas to get fresh air and get away from the working environment.
- Nurses should be presented with tools such as Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS). Hire mental health professionals or collaborate with organizations and foundations that can provide this support.
- Don’t forget about home health care or offsite support. Create and train a remote team for MHPSS.
- Teamwork and peer support should be pushed. Group activities based on potential scenarios so that they are prepared and prevented.
- Free access for all healthcare workers. Giving access to workers’ family members or anyone that can indirectly be affected by workplace violence is a plus.
The problem is that we are getting accustomed to this situation. Experiencing higher rates of injuries and workplace violence has become the daily basis of healthcare workers and even considered as “part of the job”. But it is not. And we are here to talk about it and promote a better workplace environment within the industry.