A free online workplace violence prevention training program is available for nurses and other healthcare workers through the CDCs National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.
In 2012, healthcare and social assistance workers made up one of the largest industry sectors in the U.S., employing an estimated 19.4 million people, or 13.5% of the total workforce, according to an NIOSH analysis of the 2012 Current Population Survey data. During the past decade, U.S. healthcare workers have accounted for two-thirds of the nonfatal workplace violence injuries involving days away from work in all industries.
Healthcare workers risk facing physical violence and nonphysical violence, such as verbal abuse, on the job, Dan Hartley, EdD, workplace violence prevention coordinator in the Division of Safety Research, and Marilyn Ridenour, BSN, MPH, nurse epidemiologist in the division, wrote in a NIOSH blog post about the course. The data include only the incidents that are reported, and past studies have suggested assaults against healthcare workers are underreported, the authors wrote.
The free online course, available through the NIOSH website, aims to teach RNs and other healthcare workers how to recognize and prevent workplace violence. It also encourages RNs to work with employers proactively to prevent violence. The training course includes text, videos illustrating workplace violence incidents, testimonials from RNs and module quizzes. Nurses can earn continuing education credits for completing the online course, which includes 13 units. Each unit takes about 15 minutes, and the course includes a feature allowing RNs to finish any portion of the course, take a break and then restart where they stopped.
The course was developed by NIOSH and other healthcare stakeholders, including nursing and labor organizations, academic groups, government agencies and Vida Health Communications Inc., to address a lack of workplace violence prevention training available to RNs and other healthcare workers. The course was evaluated by 204 members of the American Nurses Association, according to the blog post.
Guidelines from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration suggest healthcare employers incorporate workplace violence prevention strategies focusing on risk factors from several perspectives including: clinical (patients under the influence of drugs or alcohol), environmental (physical layout, design and contents of the workplace), organizational (policies, procedures and culture), and social and economic (distraught family members and challenging economic circumstances. The 2002 NIOSH publication “Violence: Occupational Hazards in Hospitals” discusses prevention strategies in terms of environmental, administrative and behavioral factors.
Nurse.com’s CE course on preventing violence in healthcare settings: http://ce.nurse.com/course/ce130-60/preventing-violence-in-the-healthcare-setting/