Role and Scope
November 20, 2011
Violence within the workplace is an issue that is prevalent in many industries. However, when it occurs in the health care setting it could have a more detrimental effect. This paper will discuss the definition of workplace violence, causes of workplace violence, how to identify potential offenders, how to protect oneself, and the proper protocol for reporting an incidence.
Violence within the workplace is typically more common in places where large amounts of money are held, night shifts work alone, or in high crime areas. Workplace violence is defined as, “any violent act that occurs in the workplace and creates a hostile work environment that affects employees' physical or psychological well-being. Violence at work can take many forms: harassment, intimidation, threats, theft, stalking, assault, arson, sabotage, bombing, hostage taking, kidnapping, extortion, suicide, and homicide” (Tappan, Weiss, Whitehead, 2010). Violence in the workplace has been deemed the number one cause of work related deaths.
There are many factors involves with what may cause a person to become violent in a workplace. Use of alcohol, drugs, psychological problems, financial difficulties, and other life stressors have been found to contribute to incidence of violence. Another key factor to watch for are people that are prone to violence. In the hospital setting it can be brought on by despair from death, employees being overworked, and quarrerels between visitors (Chavez, 2003). Some individuals tend to have a short fuse and react with anger or violence quicker than most. Being able to recognize these factors will be beneficial in protecting yourself from violence. There are signs that can be used to predict that a violent act might be on the verge of occurring. When these signs are presented it is important to protect oneself by retreating from the area and notifying the proper people. The first sign to look for is verbally expressed anger or frustration. In the hospital many people are frustrated but the anger aspect should set this individual apart from the rest. They also may exhibit body language with threatening gestures. They also may have a weapon present. If one finds themselves in this situation it is imperative to stay calm and not provoke the individual. Use therapeutic communication to talk them down if possible. Do not make sudden movements or gestures. Make sure to never match a threat or appear aggressive (Jackson, Clare, Mannox, 2002). It is also important to mention that workplace violence can occur between coworkers. If this is the case then the same procedures should be followed. Many facilities are implementing prevention programs for workplace violence. Some of these look harder at potential hires, screen current employees, and hold in-services about the issue. They are also forming response teams