Addressing the Threat of Workplace Violence in Hospitals

By: Emily Bacheller

December 23, 2020

Hospital worker putting hand up to indicate no violence

In recent years, workplace violence against healthcare workers has been on the rise. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), about 75 percent of nearly 25,000 reported annual workplace assaults occur in healthcare and social service settings. Those who don’t work in healthcare may be surprised to learn that violent altercations are so common in our field.

Hospital settings can create fear and stress for patients and their families. Pain, mind-altering medications and drugs, and difficult prognoses can amplify these feelings. While inappropriate responses may be understandable, violence cannot be tolerated.

As the leader of a health system, protecting our employees is an issue that I take seriously.

Reporting Workplace Violence

Unfortunately, sometimes employees don’t report dangerous incidents fearing they might be blamed, or not realizing it’s a reportable offense. At Renown Health, we take these events seriously. We have clear, mandatory policies and protocols for reporting and investigating violent incidents. Each incident is investigated to ensure follow through and accountability.

We also teach de-escalation skills to our hospital security teams, clinicians, and other frontline employees. As an added layer of protection, Renown Health has a first-rate security team that closely monitors activity on our campuses, addressing potential issues before they escalate.

Our organization values our partnerships with community organizations including local law enforcement agencies like the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office and the Reno Police Department. Renown Health maintains a close relationship with these partners, and we alert them when our care teams experience an increase in violent incidents.

I also recognize that workplace violence is a national problem that demands collaborative solutions. That’s why I am also proud to serve as a member of the American Hospital Association’s Hospitals Against Violence Advisory Committee.

Nurses, doctors, paramedics, and frontline health workers care for us every day. It’s our responsibility to support them by ensuring they feel safe at work.

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