More perils for healthcare workers

December 9th, 2013 by Julie Ferguson

In a recent blog post about healthcare workers, Tom Lynch talked about the scourge of patient handling and the resulting epidemic of related injuries. We note that Risk Management magazine and its affiliated blog Risk Management Monitor have recently featured articles on other risks associated with healthcare workers, which we think are noteworthy.
In December’s Risk Management magazine, Alan H. Rosenstein talks about Managing the Risks of Disruptive Behaviors in Health Care Settings. Often, in discussions about threats to healthcare staff, the focus is on threats from patients, family members or outsiders – but Rosenstein tackles peer-to-peer behaviors that cause problems – an issue serious enough in scope that the Joint Commission requires hospitals to have a written policy addressing disruptive behaviors as one of its leadership standards for hospital accreditation. He defines disruptive behaviors as “any inappropriate behavior, confrontation or conflict, ranging from verbal abuse to physical or sexual harassment, that can negatively impact patient care” and notes:

“Research has shown that 3% to 5% of physician and nursing staffs at hospitals exhibit disruptive behaviors. While the actual number of physicians and nurses responsible for these episodes is small, the impact is not. Studies have shown that more than 95% of those involved in a disruptive event feel stressed, intimidated or unable to concentrate, inhibiting their ability to effectively collaborate and communicate patient medical concerns. More than half of those surveyed felt these events led to medical errors and compromises in patient safety and quality of care.”

He identifies training as “an area ripe for improvement” noting that while, for example, physician education emphasizes knowledge and technical competency it does not necessarily address “emotional intelligence.”
In Risk Management Monitor, Hilary Tuttle looks at the issue of violence in her post, Minimizing the Dangers for Hospital Nurses. She includes an infographic, which we pass along below. If healthcare workers are on your radar, be sure to check out both articles
The Dark Side of Nursing