Every day, around the clock, the women and men who work at Maryland’s hospitals offer their patients compassionate, professional care. In places that are dedicated to help others heal, it’s especially jarring to recognize that these hospital associates are too often in serious danger.
Consider these national statistics: in 2014, more than half of all the workplace violence incidents reported to the Bureau of Labor Statistics took place in a health care setting. More than half of nurses and nursing students have been verbally assaulted, with another 20 percent enduring physical assault.
But here’s the really disheartening number: a full 80 percent of nurses do not feel safe in their workplace, according to a recent study.
The power of this sentiment cannot be ignored. As hospital and community leaders, we are called to provide a safe environment for caregivers to give care.
Violence in hospitals was a much-discussed topic at the American Hospital Association’s State Issues Forum in Washington, D.C., this past week. Across the country, hospitals are trying many strategies to mitigate the problem, with some showing promising results. There’s no magic wand that can be waved, however, at what is an increasingly troublesome social issue. Addressing this problem will take serious effort and a long-term commitment.
We’re hoping to advance this conversation with our own statewide summit – Safe Harbors: Protecting Providers and Patients – in June. We’re still working to finalize the agenda and speakers, but registration is open. I hope you’ll join us to hear from national experts on violence prevention programs and to learn about specific strategies such as building staff resiliency, de-escalation, security protocols, and more.
In addition, AHA on June 8 is asking all hospitals to participate in the Hospitals Against Violence initiative’s #HAVhope Day of Awareness on social media by submitting photos showing their commitment to combating violence.
All of these efforts are designed to help us help those who are the face of our organizations, who make hospitals the very special places that our communities trust.