“Adversity acquaints us with our resources, our virtues, our armour and weapons, our spirit – and forces us to be stronger.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
Yesterday, several hundred women and men who serve in Maryland’s hospitals left behind their usual, pressing duties to come together for a cause that touches us all: reducing workplace violence.
The massive turnout for the summit, Safe Harbors: Protecting Providers and Patients, underscores the urgency of the problem. As I noted in my remarks to kick off the event, jointly hosted by MHA and the Maryland Nurses Association, the concerns about workplace violence have never been more pronounced in the 40 years I’ve worked in health care.
That’s why it was so important to hear from experts, most from within Maryland’s own hospitals, who shared valuable insights into how we can prevent and de-escalate violence. One of the important lessons from the day was that there are many different types of violence, each requiring a different strategy. We also learned how crucial it is to support associates who experience assaults, as well as the “second victims,” those who are close to them.
The level of engagement at the summit was impressive. It’s clear that much can be accomplished simply by sharing ideas and best practices across institutions. For our part, MHA will continue to raise awareness with hospital executives and trustees, press legislators for sensible bills and regulations, and facilitate the sharing of tools, techniques, and proven strategies.
But the summit, along with the subsequent work that it encourages, is about far more than the means to reduce workplace violence.
This work instills shared values about how to take care of those who care for others. These values, along with a rejuvenated sense of purpose, serve as guideposts on the path to securing hospitals as safe harbors, where patients and providers focus on treatment and recovery.
Promoting that idea is a priority for Maryland’s hospital leaders, MHA, and, as evidenced at yesterday’s event, for hospital associates as well. That’s a strong foundation upon which we can begin to change the culture of workplace violence, so that hospitals are always filled with hope and healing and never with fear and harm.