Nursing and Workplace Violence
One of the serious hazards that health care providers are exposed to is workplace violence (WPV). The danger takes the form of threats or acts of physical violence, intimidation, harassment, and any other behavior that disrupts the normal functioning of the work site. MVP affects clients, workers, and visitors and includes verbal abuses, assaults and in extreme cases, homicides. Data by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recorded about 11370 victims of assaults by persons to healthcare and social assistance workers. An estimated 19% of the assaults occurred in nursing and residential care institutions (Gill, Fisher, & Bowie, 2013).
Political, Legal and Legislative Factors That May Contribute to Workplace Violence
While it is universally acknowledged that the healthcare industry is among the most regulated sectors in the US, it still unsurprising to see the cases of workplace violence continue rising each year. Effective managers of facilities must understand the legal and ethical factors that affect the work environment, which includes the legal relationship between the institution and the customers (Schindeler, 2014). The Human Resource executives to ensure their employees are knowledgeable of the various legal and ethical aspects that affect their safety and liability to lawsuits. It has been established that torts including negligence and invasion of privacy have led to violence at the workplace. For example, intentional violation of the records of a patient, failing to give appropriate care or withholding care that result in damaging the health of a patient may give rise to violence as well as lawsuits (Bratton & Gold, 2012).
Other factors like discrimination based on sex, race, religion among other factors, has contributed to violent tendencies by dissatisfied consumers. Discrimination is often fueled by some political discourse, notwithstanding the provision of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Sexual discrimination and age discrimination are among other factors that are provided in law but are not enforced properly to benefit the workers and customers (Gill et al., 2013).
The failure of some councils and states in passing laws that would see the perpetrators of the assault charged in the courts is a hindrance in preventing the violence. And in cases where there have been successful charges, some laws protect sick people against prosecution or give a less severe penalty because of the mental status of the offenders (Schindeler, 2014).
Main Components of OSHA’s Workplace Violence Prevention Guidelines
OSHA recognizes that where risk factors can be identified, they can be prevented if the necessary precautions are taken. The agency advocates for a zero tolerance to violence policy is a nice place to begin. The policy must cover all persons that visit the facility, workers, patients, contractors, and visitors. Besides, they believe that effective training, engineering controls and administrative controls coupled with a well written and implemented prevention policy will reduce WPV (Gill et al., 2013).
The agency also emphasizes the need to identify the risk factors that include working with individuals with a known history of violence or those that are unstable in various settings. The OSHA act provides for the managers of facilities to provide for safe and secure working environments. The violence prevention strategy ought to include incident documentation, the procedures that must be taken in case of an incident and an open communication policy between the workers and the employers (Speroni, Fitch, Dawson, Dugan, & Atherton, 2014).
The American Nursing Association’s Position on Violence in the Workplace
The American Association of Nurses (ANA) holds that all registered Nurses (RNs), and employers have a responsibility to cooperate to foster a culture and environment free of coarseness and violence irrespective of their settings and practice in academia and research. To achieve this goal, the application of evidence-based strategies needs to be implemented to promote safety, health, and well-being of the nursing practitioners and consequently ensuring positive health outcomes throughout the healthcare continuum. The statement is relevant to all healthcare professionals that partner to create, support, and sustain a healthy and safe interdisciplinary environment (Nathan Gross & Maryalice Nocera MS, 2013). Further, the statement realizes the responsibility played by the other stakeholders that have a relationship with the worksite in ensuring bullying, violence, and incivility are addressed.
Safety Policies and Protocols for Preventing and Responding to Violence Against Health Care Workers
While it may be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of the rising incidences of violence, some policies that can be adopted by the health care facilities to mitigate the rising cases include implementing effective gun control laws, reducing drug and alcohol abuse and implementing crime deterrence strategies. Such actions like increasing lighting, use of CCTVs, visible locations for handling money, providing security staff will help prevent some cases of violence. Besides, training employees on how to manage assaultive behavior and professional response to assault have been shown to reduce the incidence of violence (Speroni et al., 2014). The OSHA guidelines on how to develop and implement programs that are aimed at protecting their workers from assault by others at the worksite should be adhered to strictly.
The position of the American Association of Nurses (ANA) speaks from its code of ethics and other interpretive statements. The rallying call is for all nurses to create an environment based on ethics where the respect, civility, humility, kindness, towards colleagues, students, coworkers, and others forms part of the culture. In a similar way, the nurses deserve and must be accorded the reasonable levels of kindness, dignity, and respect as the rest citizens. Simply put, the nursing profession gives zero percent tolerance to violence and incivility.
Nursing and Workplace Violence
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