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Workplace Violence in the Medical Sector - a Unique Perspective

Jeffrey Miller
Jul 11, 2008
While the concept of violence in the workplace is not new by any means, any more than workplace violence is an "American-thing," the medical sector is waking up to the reality that it is in a, so-called, league of its own.

For years, the medical sector, at least that part of it that took action, has been treating the issue of workplace violence as though hospitals, clinics, and doctor's offices were no different than factories. Those who did take measures to prevent violence in the workplace - who did create workplace violence plans, polices, and procedures for handling this important issue - did so as though they were "just like everybody else." And, they have come to find out that...it just wasn't so.

The Reality of Workplace Violence In The Health Sector

The truth when it comes to WPV in the health care field is that:

* The health care sector has one of the lowest - if not THE lowest rate of employee-initiated incidents in the corporate world. Good for them. But...

* The health care sector has THE HIGHEST number of incidents of violence perpetrated against health workers on the job!

We'll talk about why this is true in another post. But what's important now is the fact that the health care community made a serious error in judgment. They operated under the premis, and hired workplace violence consultants to assist them based on the premise, that they had the same problem that every other company did, and they could use the same measures.

In fact, when it comes to violence in the workplace, the health sector is in such a unique position that the United States' Federal Bureau of Investigation - the FBI - has created a separate listing for health care professionals in the world of workplace violence.

Why? A few reasons.

1. The typical attack on a health care worker is perpetrated by an assailant who "does not" fit the profile established using standard workplace violence data and statistics.

2. The typical assailant in an attack on a medical professional lashes out for very different reasons than in the rest of the corporate world. And...

3. Health care workers are in a very unique position when it comes to dealing with an attack, in that he or she must defend themselves while "simultaneously" providing aid to their assailant!

Its Time Has Come

In the past year or so, the medical community has been waking up to the realities of workplace violence as it relates to them. They are re-examining their beliefs, policies, and procedures and seeing the lack of real protection.

In fact, many facilities, just like many standard companies in the corporate world at-large, are realizing that the workplace violence plans, policies, and procedures they have in place... just might be creating the very "same" liability issues they were meant to handle in the first place!
About the Author
Jeffrey Miller is the founder and CEO of Warrior Concepts International, Inc., a self-protection training company focusing on workplace violence defensive tactics training and policy development. He may be reached (in the US and Canada) at (570) 988-2228, or through his web site at www.wcinternational.com
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