Workplace ViolenceThe Role of the Executive Leader to Stop the Epidemic
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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. The responsibility to mitigate violence rests squarely on the shoulders of executive nursing leaders. There are tools and resources available for the executive nurse leader to use to address this issue in their practice environment. 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 responsibility for mitigating workplace violence falls to the chief nurse executive, it takes more than one champion to tackle the issue. An interdisciplinary team approach provides the framework for successful implementation of a program to mitigate violence. 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. Aside from the physical scars and emotional stress a victim can experience as a result of the violence, there is a financial cost the nurse leader will bear. The evidence reveals one third of emergency nurses who experienced workplace violence thought about leaving their position or their profession as a result of violence. The cost of replacing that nurse is estimated to be $65,000. It's 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 executive nurse leaders its up to you to change the culture of acceptance.