Physical and verbal violence against health care workers.
Approach to Improving Safety
Setting of Care
The Joint Commission issues sentinel event alerts to raise awareness regarding risks in the health care setting. This alert highlights physical and verbal violence as a major problem in the workplace, particularly in areas such as the emergency department and inpatient psychiatric units. Other factors associated with violence in health care settings include stressful conditions, understaffing, and lack of organizational policies for recognizing and deescalating hostile behaviors. The alert suggests numerous strategies health care organizations can take to mitigate workplace violence, such as establishing systems across the organization that enable reporting of workplace violence and developing quality improvement initiatives to reduce such incidents. A past PSNet perspective explored how a team at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center developed a process to improve workplace safety.