Workplace violence is a sensitive topic crucial to be openly discussed, and I respect your courage to share your experience with facing aggression at your job. The abuse is illegal and must not exist in a healthcare facility’s environment; however, the cases frequently appear and develop legal and ethical tensions. You correctly identified that “workplace violence is an aggression when staff is intimidated or attacked in the circumstances related to their work, involving an explicit or implicit challenge to their safety, well-being or health.” Indeed, the threat to the healthcare providers’ security can occur due to their colleagues’ or patients’ actions; thus, every employee must be protected legally. The current challenge in developing and establishing policies is that violent acts of colleagues and clients are lawfully distinct and require different investigations (Gooch, 2018). Patients are more protected by law and have more defense options in a court as they can relate to ethical considerations such as autonomy and non-maleficence.
Your experience of working in a psychiatric hospital is a significant foundation to explore an ethical aspect of workplace violence. As healthcare providers, the employees must act within beneficence and justice for the patients; however, the aggression towards them might break the rules. Indeed, the cases where self-protection becomes a priority, a moral aspect of taking care of the deviant client might be disregarded (Dermenchyan, 2018). It is a profound practice for your facility to have security guards and techniques to maintain the patients’ calm because it helps you avoid aggression ethically. You also provided valuable insight into the violence’s consequences for the healthcare workers by mentioning how psychological and emotional outcomes impact practitioners’ capabilities. Today, it is critical to increase healthcare providers’ legal and ethical safety measures because the COVID-19 pandemic became additional massive stress for most organizations, and the conflicts’ incidence increased.
Nursing practitioners must provide patients with safe healthcare services and act with consideration of ethical aspects such as beneficence, non-maleficence, and justice. These conditions are challenging to maintain when the workers operate in an insecure or violent environment; thus, the workplace policies must primarily address the employees’ protection (Vento et al., 2020). I agree with your statement that practitioners’ performance impacts the quality of care, and their safety must be prioritized rather than the patients’. You also mentioned that “when nurse staffing is not appropriate medical errors and emotional fatigue may arise.” Furthermore, the policies must provide sufficient legal protection for employees in workplace violence cases involving their colleagues, executives, or patients. You made a valuable conclusion that the law must develop and support the appropriate responses to different situations.
Moreover, if workplace violence occurs in a facility and disrupts its staff’s performance, the quality of their services lowers and creates a threat for the patients. Such consequences are ethically incorrect because they are against the client’s beneficence and might result in harmful patient outcomes (Pien et al., 2019). You correctly mentioned that a facility’s schedule, staffing, and other operations must be developed with consideration of “acuity of patients to assist in the prevention of medical errors and emotional fatigue.” The strategy is effective for all types of healthcare organizations to help them avoid ethical and legal conflicts and decrease the risks of workplace violence. Lastly, each practitioner must be informed about the resources, communities, and policymakers to reach in the cases of doubtful situations. Having a lawyer who works with a facility and consults about workplace violence is beneficial for all employees and patient outcomes.
Dermenchyan, A. (2018). Addressing workplace violence. Critical Care Nurse, 38(2), 81-82. Web.
Gooch, P. (2018). Hospital workplace violence prevention in California: New regulations. Workplace Health & Safety, 66(3), 115-119. Web.
Pien, L. C., Cheng, Y., & Cheng, W. J. (2019). Psychosocial safety climate, workplace violence and self‐rated health: A multi‐level study among hospital nurses. Journal Of Nursing Management, 27(3), 584-591. Web.
Vento, S., Cainelli, F., & Vallone, A. (2020). Violence against healthcare workers: A worldwide phenomenon with serious consequences. Frontiers In Public Health, 8, 541. Web.