Online Training Helps Protect Nurses and Other Healthcare Workers from Workplace Violence
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication Number 2015-118
A Story of Impact :
Healthcare workers dedicate their lives to the treatment and care of patients. They sometimes put their own safety and health at risk to help a patient or visitor. The unique culture and unpredictability of hospitals increase the risk of both physical and non-physical violence among healthcare workers. In 2013, there were 9,200 nonfatal workplace violence injuries among healthcare workers, which was more than 67% of nonfatal violence-related injuries occurring in all industries.1 These figures underestimate the burden of workplace violence, because only assaults that resulted in time away from work, and not the psychological trauma or less severe physical injuries that healthcare workers experience from workplace violence, are reported. Additionally, the number of assaults reported by healthcare workers is considered greatly underreported. Some reasons include: lack of awareness, fear of retaliation, unintentional assaults, and persistent perception within the healthcare industry that workplace violence is part of the job, and fear that reporting will reflect poorly on the worker.
Many new and experienced healthcare workers are not formally trained in workplace violence prevention strategies. Recognizing the gap in knowledge, researchers at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) partnered with Vida Health Communications, Inc., to develop an online training course for nurses. This course was developed mainly as a resource for nurses and other healthcare professionals who are required to complete continuing education units to maintain their licenses, but the training can benefit anyone employed in the healthcare industry. From project conception to dissemination, NIOSH researchers collaborated with healthcare workplace violence prevention experts from academia, labor unions, nurse organizations, private consultants, and other government agencies to ensure course content and design met the learning needs of healthcare professionals.