How HR Can Help Prevent Hospital Gun Violence

Lena J. Weiner, June 9, 2014

Violence can erupt anywhere on a hospital campus. Human resources professionals play a vital role in preventing on-the-job violence by setting policies and training employees in techniques to keep everyone safer.

It's been a violent week. Shootings—and killings—at a restaurant in Las Vegas, and a college campus in Seattle have made big headlines over the last few days. In Canada, three police officers were shot dead in a residential area last week before the alleged shooter was apprehended.

These are just the latest wave of seemingly random shootings and no public space or workplace can truly be considered safe.

Not even hospitals.

Violence can happen anywhere and sadly, is not news to most people in healthcare. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 63% of all nonfatal assaults and violent acts in the workplace occurred within the healthcare and social assistance industry.

Emergency departments typically see the most violence. "We have people who come in under the influence of substances, or they're sick or scared," says Jason Berenstein, director of security at Oakland Regional Hospital in Southfield, MI.

But violence can erupt anywhere on a hospital campus. Patients will frequently lash out against doctors, nurses and other ED staff. Berenstein also remembers an incident where two clinicians got into a physical fight on the ED floor. "Given the stressful situations staff go through at times, they push each other's buttons," he says.

Lena J. Weiner

Lena J. Weiner is an associate editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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