The Roanoker - July/August 2019 - 62

The epidemic
looks like this:
In one recent 10-year period, incidents
of serious violence in hospitals were four
times more common than in private
industry, according to Occupational
Safety and Health Administration
(OSHA). One study concluded that "78
percent of participants experienced at
least one act of workplace violence in the
last 12 months, with 75 percent reporting
verbal threats and 21 percent reporting
physical assaults."
Disturbing statistics abound about the
prevalence of violence in medical facilities,
but the surveys show that just 30 percent
of nurses and 26 percent of physicians
report violence.
One long-time Roanoke Valley RN,
who has worked in several hospitals and
units, including the emergency room and
intensive care and asked that her name
not be used, says that some of the verbal
and physical violence that used to be
present is rare now.
"Colleagues used rude language, threw
pens, called nurses 'stupid.' It doesn't
happen so much now." Patients, she says,
"hit, slap, bite" and that "is sometimes
tolerated." She says that "a nursing
assistant I worked with had a patient
try to stab her with an ink pen in the
neck. The patient was a schizophrenic and
what we see so often is the victim being
blamed. 'She shouldn't have had a pen in
her pocket,' or 'why let the patient get
that close?'
"I think the biggest problem," says the
nurse, "is that there's just not enough staff "
to handle difficult situations. Still, "nurses
are much better educated now and there
is security in hospitals."
Management Consultant Sandy Smith,
who works with hospitals (including
Carilion), says the costs of hospital
violence are significant.
62

JULY/AUGUST 2019

"Violence that involves a staff
member, whether from a patient,
visitor, or another employee, has a
significant impact on the operations
of the hospital. Workplace violence
leads to increased staff turnover,
medical care, lost productivity and
a host of other issues for injured
employees. Many studies on this
issue focus on a single hospital
system or clinic to illustrate the
experiences of limited events. ...
National in-facility violence costs
of $428.5 million a year, including
$234.2 million for staff turnover,
$42.3 million in medical care and
indemnity [compensation for
lost wages made to employees
who were injured on the job] for
employee victims of violence, and
$90.7 million in disability and
absenteeism costs."

Carilion's top
executives
(from left),
Patrice Weiss,
Nancy Agee and
Steve Arner,
emphasize
prevention and
education.

Carilion has gone so far as to create
the Carilion Clinic Center for Simulation,
Research and Patient Safety. It deals with
a variety of medical issues, including
safety.
Agee say s Car ilion is also one
of many hospitals aspiring to
#HospitalsAgainstViolence, which "invites
hospitals to stand with communities
a g a i n s t v i o l e n c e. " T h e r e s u l t o f
considerable discussion and education
is "there is true awareness. ... Every
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The Roanoker - July/August 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Roanoker - July/August 2019

The Roanoker - July/August 2019 - Intro
The Roanoker - July/August 2019 - Cover1
The Roanoker - July/August 2019 - Cover2
The Roanoker - July/August 2019 - 3
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The Roanoker - July/August 2019 - V1
The Roanoker - July/August 2019 - V2
The Roanoker - July/August 2019 - V3
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The Roanoker - July/August 2019 - Cover3
The Roanoker - July/August 2019 - Cover4
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