Hospitals, as places of health and healing, should be safe havens in our communities and for our employees.
Yet, too often they are affected by harassment in the workplace and other factors that lead to stress and burnout—and ultimately affect your ability to recruit the workforce of the future.
These challenges are illustrated in a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, released Tuesday, that reveals alarming national trends and the need for action.
The report states that the share of health workers experiencing threats or harassment from patients or others at work more than doubled between 2018 and 2022, reaching 13.4%. These incidents of violence in health care settings are unacceptable.
Notably, those who reported harassment were found to be five times more likely to suffer from anxiety, three times more likely to experience depression, and are six times more prone to burnout.
These trends, unfortunately, have been felt in hospitals across our state—and among many other public-facing industries nationwide—for some time. Issues like burnout and harassment of health care workers that were emerging before the pandemic have only worsened.
In response to this growing crisis, MHA in collaboration with the Maryland Patient Safety Center, is advocating for a public awareness campaign to shed light on this critical issue. This initiative seeks to educate the public about the importance of a safe and supportive health care environment, where both patients and health care workers can thrive.
MHA data also show that in 2019, 92% of member hospitals increased security-related spending over the past five years. And hospitals continue to invest in training, staffing, and equipment to address and prevent workplace violence.
The impact of workplace violence is mentioned in every conversation about recruiting and retaining the health care workforce. For these reasons, MHA’s Task Force on the Future Health Workforce, which reconvened last week, will spend the next 12 months developing fieldwide strategies to address workplace violence prevention.
We will continue to prioritize efforts to strengthen and support your hospital workforce and keep you updated on our progress.