A New Effort to Reduce Violence Against Hospital Workers

Keeping health care workers safe is a concern for everyone. That's why Governor Kate Brown joined Oregon’s hospitals, doctors’ organizations, nurses’ organization, and organized labor groups in announcing a new workplace violence prevention toolkit. The toolkit was designed collaboratively, and when implemented in Oregon’s hospitals it will increase worker safety.

The Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems, the Oregon Nurses Association, the Service Employee International Union – Local 49, the Oregon Medical Association, the Oregon Emergency Nurses Association, the Oregon Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians, the Northwest Organization of Nurse Executives, and the Oregon Center for Nursing all endorse this new, comprehensive approach and see implementation of the toolkit as a key step in prevent worker injuries due to violence.

Meanwhile, The Joint Commission, one of the premier national accrediting bodies for hospitals, has identified the toolkit on their website as a “recommended resource,” making it available to hospitals and health care providers nationwide.

The collaboration grew from a workgroup started in 2014 and sustained by leadership from Governor Kate Brown in successive years. The stakeholders in that workgroup agreed on the need to protect hospital workers and moved to create this toolkit.

“Our health care workers support and protect every Oregonian during the most difficult periods of their lives. In order for them to focus on their jobs, they first need to be safe,” said Governor Kate Brown, who helped ensure the partnership amongst these diverse groups would continue – leading to outcomes like this toolkit. “Prevention is critical to ensuring workplace safety and I’m pleased at the wide collaboration of this effort.”

“We are proud to have worked in close partnership with the diverse group involved in this effort and we believe that the resulting toolkit will build on hospitals’ existing safety programs to ensure we protect hospital staff from violence,” said Andy Davidson, Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems president and CEO. “At the end of the day, we all care deeply about keeping people safe while they care for the sick and believe that we should take all steps possible to reduce violence in our hospitals and health care settings to zero. We’re doubly proud that The Joint Commission has linked to this as a nationally available tool.”

“The best way to keep patients safe is to make sure that staff caring for them are working in a safe environment,” said Meg Niemi, President, Service Employee International Union – Local 49. “We look forward to this toolkit being implemented across hospitals so that we can work together to reduce workplace violence and keep patients safe.”

“Our hospitals can be safe spaces for patients and health care providers,” said Cheryl Cosgrove, RN, Oregon Nurses Association member. “Comprehensive workplace violence prevention programs have a powerful impact in how we care for our patients and how we support caregivers. This toolkit is an important first step to improve patient care and reduce workplace violence throughout Oregon.”

“The Oregon Medical Association is excited to see strides being made toward ensuring a safer workplace,” said Bryan Boehringer, CEO, Oregon Medical Association. “We support the efforts of OAHHS and others in developing toolkits that will help each facility address safety for all their employees and patients.”

"The Oregon Emergency Nurses Association is proud to endorse the OAHHS Violence Prevention Toolkit,” said Bill Schueler, MSN, RN, CEN, CPPS, WVTS; Director, Violence Prevention, Oregon Emergency Nurses Association. “This comprehensive toolkit provides healthcare organizations not only the ‘what’ and ‘why,’ but the ‘how.’ Violence prevention in healthcare is complex and the OAHHS Violence Prevention Toolkit is the new standard.”

“Creating safe work environments and reducing workplace violence for nurses is of utmost importance", said Cindi Warburton, Executive Director of the NW Organization of Nurse Executives, which represents Nursing Leadership across Oregon and Washington. “NWone supports the implementation of the workplace safety toolkit across Oregon and applaud the collaborative effort it took to create it.”
“Workplace violence is such a concern for nurses and nurse leaders statewide,” said Jana R. Bitton, MPA; Executive Director; Oregon Center for Nursing. “This toolkit is an amazing comprehensive literature review and compilation of materials to address workplace violence.”

For more information or to view the toolkit please visit www.oahhs.org/safety.