Nursing Notes

March 29, 2010

Workplace Violence In The Medical Sector – A Unique Perspective

Here’s an article I found that addresses the differences between they type of violence found in offices and factories and they type found in medical facilities.  There is a difference; we, working in the field, have known this fact for quite some time.  We have even been pretty vocal about the differences, but it appears that no one has listened.  I like the last part of this article that specifies the dilemma nurses are in when faced with violence.    We still have to care for the person because our licenses say we do; because that is the right thing to do; because we care about our patients and our profession.

Let me know what you think of this particular article, won’t you?

By: Jeffrey M. Miller

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 premis, and hired workplace violence consultants to assist them based on the premis, 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 seperate listing for health care professionals in the world of workplace violence.


A few reasons.

  1. 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.
  2. 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…
  3. 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!

Its Time Has Come

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!

About the Author

Does your company have a solid and complete workplace violence training program? Do you and your workers know what to do should the unthinkable happen and you come face-to-face with violence in the workplace? Or are you betting the lives and safety of everyone involved that there isn’t someone right now, inside or outside your company, planning an attack? Get the facts and stop making safety decisions based on denial, apathy, or ignorance. Read my new workplace violence report, “Attack-Proof Your Facility!” It’s available free at:

Jeffrey M. Miller is an internationally-recognized self defense expert and workplace violence defensive tactics trainer. Every month, he teaches literally thousands of individuals – alone or as members of groups and companies – how to defend against and survive acts of workplace violence. Mr. Miller is a co-author of the books, “Workplace Violence in the Mental and Healthcare Settings,” (Jones and Bartlett Pub. 2010); and “Using GIS in Hospital Emergency Management,” (CRC Press 2010); as well as several others. He may be reached through his international office in the US at (570) 988-2228.

(ArticlesBase SC #2062003)

Article Source: Violence In The Medical Sector – A Unique Perspective

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