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Zero Tolerance for ED Assaults

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, August 3, 2009

Briggs says there are signs that that is already happening among ED staff, where the old school attitude that assault and mayhem are "part of the job" is giving way to a new understanding of the seriousness of the threat. "Younger nurses who are coming from a different generation are saying 'no.' They want balance in their lives. They want to do a good job, but they also want to be safe and go home to their families and not worry about the environment they're working in," he says.

Briggs says there are a number of proactive steps that hospitals can take to provide a secure workplace for ED staff, starting with creating a culture of acceptance for reporting violence. He also recommends that hospitals adopt OSHA guidelines for dealing with hospital workplace violence.

No hospital would tolerate verbal or physical abuse or assault in the ICU, maternity, oncology, or in the gift shop. For whatever reason, the ED is held to a lower standard. This needs to change.


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John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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