While the concept of violence in the workplace is not new by any means, any more than workplace – violence is an “American thing,” the medical sector is waking up to the reality that it is in a, so-called, league of its own.
For years, the medical sector, at least that part of it that took action, has been treating the issue of workplace violence as though hospitals, clinics, and doctor’s offices were no different than factories. Those who did take measures to prevent violence in the workplace – who did create workplace violence plans, polices, and procedures for handling this important issue – did so as though they were “just like everybody else. “And, they have come to find out it just wasn’t so.
The Reality of Workplace Violence in the Health Sector. The truth when it comes to WPV in the healthcare field is that. The health care sector has one of the lowest – if not THE lowest rate of employee-initiated incidents in the corporate world. Good for them. But the health care sector has THE HIGHEST number of incidents of violence perpetrated against health workers on the job!
We’ll talk about why this is true in another post. But what’s important now is the fact that the health care community made a serious error in judgment. They operated under the premise, and hired workplace violence consultants to assist them based on the premise, that they had the same problem that every other company did, and they could use the same measures.
In fact, when it comes to violence in the workplace, the health sector is in such a unique position that the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation – the FBI – has created a separate listing for health care professionals in the world of workplace violence. The typical attack on a health care worker is perpetrated by an assailant who does not fit the profile established using standard workplace violence data and statistics.
The typical assailant in an attack on a medical professional lashes out for very different reasons than in the rest of the corporate world. And Health care workers are in a very unique position when it comes to dealing with an attack, in that he or she must defend themselves while simultaneously providing aid to their assailant!
In the past year or so, the medical community has been waking up to the realities of workplace violence as it relates to them. They are re-examining their beliefs, policies, and procedures and seeing the lack of real protection.
In fact, many facilities, just like many standard companies in the corporate world at-large, are realizing that the workplace violence plans, policies, and procedures they have in place just might be creating the very same liability issues they were meant to handle in the first place.