Accreditation

Sentinel Event Alert 59: Workplace violence

Briefings on Accreditation and Quality, June 8, 2018

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 The Joint Commission calls for better protection of medical staff


This May, Illinois lawmakers sponsored a new bill that would require hospitals to have a workplace violence prevention program as well as whistleblower protections for healthcare workers who report assaults. This proposal comes one full year after a convict held two nurses hostage at a state hospital. The convict tortured and raped the nurses for hours before he was shot dead by police—and that wasn’t the state’s only nurse hostage case that year.  

“Workplace violence is a really pervasive problem,” Illinois Nurses Association Executive Director Alice Johnson told the Chicago Tribune. “It affects our members’ lives … and it affects our ability to do our job.”

Alisha Venters, a Detroit-area nurse, also told the Chicago Tribune, “In hospitals all over the country you see violence against nurses, lack of proper security and security training, and total lack of administrative follow-up.” 

About 75% of workplace assaults occur in the healthcare and social service sector each year, and healthcare workers are four times more likely than others to take time off because of violence-related injuries. The Joint Commission is the latest healthcare heavy-hitter to call for better protections, announcing the creation of Sentinel Event Alert (SEA) 59, which addresses violence—physical and verbal—against healthcare workers. 

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