One of the barriers to mitigating healthcare violence is us – the healthcare workers.
We are the problem.
Does that shock you? It should. But let me explain.
Healthcare workers are caregivers. We are peacemakers.
We are caregivers and peacemakers who often face and manage perpetual crises. We learn and are trained to absorb these situations without showing outward reaction. Our drill is to remain calm amongst a storm that is frequently constant.
It’s innate; we don’t make waves. Instead, we make excuses.
When a patient scratches, hits or kicks, you say, “He didn’t mean it.” When a patient shoves, we shrug a shoulder and say, “She didn’t mean it, it’s ok.” We minimize, we downplay.
But this is not okay.
Being scratched, hit, kicked, shoved, spit upon, or assaulted in any other way, is not acceptable. We need not, cannot, and should not condone it or make excuses.
Once we begin to understand, and really believe, that being assaulted in the workplace is not okay, and it is not in our job description, we begin to reverse the widespread belief culture that healthcare violence is an acceptable status quo. Correcting this mindset internally – establishing our own “zero tolerance policy,” if you will – is a critical component of ensuring our own safety in the workplace.