Preventing Violence in Healthcare
Ever seen a nurse who is afraid to return to work? What about a nurse that comes home on crutches, has bruises, or even just comes home with an emotional break down? These are all results of workplace violence in a healthcare setting. It is a very real issue that is currently on the rise. This sort of violence can result from an angry patient, visitor, or even another nurse on a variety of units. Unfortunately, because the healthcare setting can become very hostile, nurses are always going to be at risk for violence. The only way to fight violence is to attempt to prevent it by recognizing the behavioral patterns that lead to a violent outbreak, redirect the person on the verge of a violent action, and ensure each facility has a prevention program.
In order to recognize the behavioral patterns to prevent violence, one must understand the definition of workplace violence. According to the American Nurses Association, the definition of workplace violence means any sort of verbal abuse, threatening behavior, or a physical assault occurring in the workplace (“Workplace Violence” 2013). Some of the behaviors that might be observed indicating an act of violence is about to occur are: intimidating, harassing, bullying, inappropriate or aggressive behavior, increased agitation (i.e. snappy comments), inability to be still, noncompliance with simple requests, statements of desperation, references to committing suicide, direct or indirect threats. If these signs are noticed in a patient or family member, the nurse should intervene immediately. It is important to remember that other nurses are also capable of violence and looking for their behavioral warning signs are equally important. Their patterns may be having many conflicts with co-workers or bosses, bringing a weapon to the workplace, idle threats, and statements of approval of the use of violence to solve an issue (“NYSNA” 2011). Recognizing all of these behavioral issues and knowing what to do to intervene will help prevent a violent outburst from a patient, visitor, or co-worker.
Redirection is a useful tool of intervention in most situations when it comes to healthcare. To redirect in this case, simply means to turn the violent person’s attention in another direction in order to return them to a state of calmness. For example, patients with dementia become agitated easily, which can result in violence. In order to redirect them, the nurse should consider the five senses such as touch. Simply take the patient to an area familiar to them and let them feel the textures of the walls, carpet, or furniture; this will give the patient a sense of stability and they will calm down (King 2012). Another example would be in the emergency room, a patient that is becoming violent because of their pain. In this situation the nurse should redirect the patient’s attention by f attempting conversation. Ask questions such as “Are you in...