Healthcare and WPV

by todaystrainingblog

Healthcare and WPV

            This isn’t simply a post on the costs in healthcare of WPV. This is an attempt to show you the issue with Workplace violence in a healthcare setting. And it’s much more prevalent than you may imagine. According to my wife, who is an RN, since she became an LPN in 1978, she has been assaulted, both physically and verbally, at least 3,000 times!

            Most are simple verbal assaults by angry patients or families. However, several times, she’s been the recipient of a physical assault i.e. having a firearm stuck in her face, kicked, hit with fists, & having equipment flung at her. She has suffered mostly minor injuries, which is fortunate.

            I also have talked to several other nurses and employees in doctor’s offices across the Phoenix area. Of those I talked to, they estimated they are assaulted verbally, and less commonly physically, more than a half dozen times per week! And these include regular office workers.

Here is a listing of 4 incidents since the middle of December;

  •  In Phoenix, in December, this incident never made the media. a patient was being obstinate by kicking and spitting at his care team. He happened to hit one nurse in the eye with spit. She subsequently has to undergo several rounds of drug therapy because he was HIV positive.

The real issue with this incident is the reaction of the police officers who responded to the hospital after the incident; a nurse began discussing the incident with the police officer who responded to the scene, the nurse was told “It’s all in the line of work you do, you expect that sort of thing. So, we don’t necessarily do anything about that.”

The nurse then quietly responded “So when a police officer gets beat up or shot and wounded, it’s no big deal. It’s the same thing, it’s all part of the job so you expect it to happen. Therefore we shouldn’t really take it that seriously, right?” She got a shocked look and they discussed it for a while before the officer realized what it actually was. 


  • Gunman at Reno Hospital Kills One and Wounds Two

         New York Times (12/18/13) Onishi, Norimitsu

          …gunman …hospital in Reno… opened fire, killing one person and injuring two others before shooting and killing himself…


  • Man Kills Himself after Shooting Rampage at Florida Hospital

        Orlando Sentinel (FL) (01/07/14) Breen, David

       …shot himself early Sunday at the Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach, Fla. …fired at several vehicles… two nurses    and their patients before shooting himself…


  • Gunman shoots one at hospital

Carson Valley Times           January 19

            …88-year-old man …shooting a woman, believed to be his wife…Carson Tahoe Hospital

In Carson City, NV.


                In a study conducted several years ago by a major healthcare & hospital organization, it is estimated, by their membership, that 85% of ALL healthcare workers have been assaulted in one form or another. The majorities of these are in nursing homes and long care facilities, but…

            It is interesting to note, that while the number of assaults (that are reported) of healthcare workers is less than 2% of all reported incidents, they result in more than 20% of injuries and lost time.

            One of the biggest issues with WPV in a healthcare setting is the overall lack of security. Hospitals are, for the most part, for-profit institutions. And because they are for-profit, they don’t want to spend money on a cost center i.e. security. And because of this, most security departments are not very well funded or staffed, because good security can be expensive and time consuming to administration. Hospitals want their facilities to be warm, compassionate, &inviting, which is as it should be. However, there has to be a balance of security with the idea of not turning it into a gulag.

            I know of a hospital in Phoenix that there are more than 500 beds throughout all care departments. For this amount of patients and roughly 2 people per bed at most times (not nurses but overall employees throughout the system), there are only 2 security officers on duty at one time, for a completely open and accessible facility.

            Healthcare institutions are also one of the last places you would expect to see or hearing bullying, harassment, or threats by supervisors/managers to co-workers. But it occurs to more than 95% of all employees in this setting. ? And because ‘it doesn’t occur here (It Can’t Happen Here!), nothing is done to either stop or even curb it, by HR, legal, or security (which is the red headed step child and shouldn’t be involved in such things that isn’t…(.


            Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on workplace/school violence prevention. He has appeared in more than 130 media outlets in the past 30 years of being in the field and 22 studying, writing, and speaking about WPV/SV.

            He utilizes his years of field knowledge to give real life examples of incidents pulled from both his own experiences and the news headlines. Let him do this for you as well. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or visit the Facebook page to see incidents of WPV/SV you may not have seen or thought about at;