Workplace Violence: The Role of the Bedside Leader
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Session presented on Friday, September 26, 2014: Purpose: Workplace violence is prevalent in the hospital setting. Although most extensively studied in the emergency department, incidences of workplace violence are not limited to the ED. Workplace violence has been recognized as a violent crime that requires targeted responses from employers, law enforcement and the community. In some emergency departments, nurses witness workplace violence every day. As a bedside nurse, tackling the issue of workplace violence can seem like an overwhelming and unachievable goal. It is possible for a bedside nurse leader to take an active role in mitigating violence in their department. Methods: Workplace violence will be defined. A review of the literature will identify actual and perceived barriers to addressing the issue of workplace violence. The culture of acceptance that exists from the clinical nurse leader up to the chief nurse executive will be described. High-risk persons and environments will be identified. Results from the ENA Workplace Violence Surveillance Study will be discussed. Strategies to address workplace violence will be reviewed, including the ENA Workplace Violence Toolkit. Results: While the task of mitigating workplace violence falls might seem impossible to a bedside clinician, one person can absolutely make a difference in the epidemic of workplace violence. An interdisciplinary team approach provides the framework for successful implementation of a program to mitigate violence, and the bedside nurse is a critically important member of the team. Tools are available within the ENA Workplace Violence Toolkit to identify key team members, perform a risk assessment, identify areas of opportunity, and implement policies to support a safe workplace. Conclusion: Workplace violence is an epidemic that must be stopped. It is not ok for violence to be tolerated. Its not ok for workplace violence to occur. It is time we made addressing this issue a priority. Becoming a victim of workplace violence is not part of the job in the emergency department or any other place in our healthcare system. As a leader at the bedside, its up to you to change the culture of acceptance. All it takes is one nurse to stand up and say enough is enough.