JAMA: Workplace Violence Is a Critical Issue, But Leadership Can Help

August 19, 2016 | Strategic Insights for Ambulatory Care


​Workplace violence prevention in a healthcare setting should be addressed "aggressively and comprehensively," said a viewpoint published July 18, 2016, in JAMA. Approximately 24,000 workplace assaults occurred in healthcare settings between 2010 and 2013, the authors said. Failures of communication, inadequate patient observation, lack of or failure to comply with workplace violence prevention policies, and inadequate ability to identify aggressive tendencies in patients were the most common root causes. More than a quarter of healthcare worker or patient fatalities in healthcare settings (27 of every 100) in 2013 were attributable to assaults and violence, the authors said. One way the government is attempting to curb these rates is by penalizing employers for exposing workers to risk when workers have been assaulted by patients with known history, or identified potential, of violence. Leadership can do its part, the authors said, by establishing violence prevention programs, encouraging staff to report violent workplace events, and reassuring employees that appropriate actions will be taken.

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