Workplace Violence and Active Shooter Considerations for Health-Care Workers: AOA Critical Issues

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Health care has long been considered one of the most honorable professions because it seeks to provide for the benefit and continued well-being of others, but unfortunately, it is also one of the most dangerous professions. Workplace violence in health care in the U.S. is currently more the rule than the exception; employees who have experienced workplace violence-related injuries in the health-care industry require days off from work at an estimated rate at least 5 times higher than the rate for private-sector workers overall1. Because the vast majority of violent incidents and injuries to our fellow caregivers are caused by the very persons whom we are trying to help, health-care professionals must adopt strategies to better understand the circumstances and events leading up to these types of behaviors, and create methods for preventing and responding to incidents of workplace violence when they occur. Health-care facilities are no longer safe havens, and have joined other previously sacrosanct settings, including houses of worship and schools, as prime venues for acts of violence. Herein, we will examine the current trends of workplace violence as related to the health-care and social-service industries, the actions being taken by various regulatory agencies to help to mitigate the issue, the wide range of behaviors that constitute workplace violence, and the multi-tiered training strategies to better equip health-care workers to detect, prevent, and respond to such incidents.
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