This year’s ANCC Magnet Conference included six sessions focused on workplace violence. I appreciate this and all efforts to reduce violence against nurses and other healthcare workers.
One in four nurses has been assaulted, and at least 58 hospital workers died between 2011 and 2016 as a result of what National Nurses United calls an epidemic of violence. All nurse leaders know about the underreporting of incidents, just as we all know about attacks that have made headlines, such as:
A patient punched a nurse in the head and stabbed her 11 times during a routine assessment at a hospital in Massachusetts, prompting drafting of legislation which two years later still has not passed.
We go to work every day because we’re committed to what we do. But at some point, the threat of our own personal safety supersedes our desire to provide that healing touch for patients and families. After all, we have families that we need to take care of, too.
Make it Easy for Healthcare Workers to Summon Help
The Joint Commission has outlined a set of actions for reducing workplace violence that include developing procedures and protocols, improving training and reporting, and making changes to the physical environment such as equipping workers with mobile panic buttons.
Every hospital needs a multidisciplinary approach to violence prevention. And yet, to prevent or minimize injury in a moment of threat, healthcare workers must have the ability to summon help.
If you’re trying to get away from a patient to hit a button on a wall or use a call box, or digging a phone out of your pocket, or shouting for help, you’re losing precious seconds and minutes. In that time, another blow can land, or another wound can be inflicted.
But if you’re wearing something that with just a touch of a button assembles people who can help you – even if you are unable speak – you are that much safer.
With Vocera® technology, the device a healthcare worker uses for everyday communication and collaboration has panic-button protection built in.
You can press the dedicated panic button on the Vocera Smartbadge or double-tap the Call button on the Vocera Badge to instantly reach security personnel. Responders can hear what’s happening on their way to reaching you, and can locate you even if you can’t say anything.
On a smartphone, you can send a secure text message to a responder group using a pre-defined emergency template or make a broadcast call using voice commands in the Vocera Vina communication app.
Save Minutes, Save Lives
Clinical leaders are always actively looking for solutions to complex problems. Sometimes, the simplest solution is enabling clinicians and staff to do what needs to be done in the moment where the touch of a button can reduce minutes to seconds.
And in those seconds, we can save lives.
Let’s Continue the Conversation
For an additional perspective on this topic, read the blog from Brent Lang, Chairman and CEO at Vocera: Improving Staff Safety in Hospitals – Protecting Healthcare’s Most Important Assets.
I would value hearing your questions and concerns about staff safety in hospitals. I welcome you to connect with me on LinkedIn and to follow me on Twitter @RhondaCNO.