Jobs in healthcare are less healthy than you think; the US Department of Labor reports that from 2002 to 2013, workplace violence incidents were four times greater in the healthcare industry as opposed to other sectors.
In response to these statistics, Pennsylvania lawmakers are now discussing two laws that could protect hospital employees from potential threats. According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Senate Bill 351 would raise the penalty for assault on a healthcare practitioner while working, making any attack a felony rather than a misdemeanor. Likewise, House Bills 39 and 1880 would allow hospital employees to remove their full names from their badges and omit personal information. Protecting healthcare workers' identities would limit the chances of patients harassing or stalking employees after hours.
In response to the safety concerns, healthcare leaders have encouraged staff to report any and all incidents and have offered training on security strategies, including de-escalation strategies for troubling encounters. Many hospitals have teams on-call to manage violent situations and some even have emotional support groups.
Takeaways: Workplace violence can occur in any field and any profession. It is important to support the safety and wellbeing of employees by implementing a security training program and to have an incident reporting mechanism that has response protocols in place.