Today, and Every Day, Renown Stands Up Against Workplace Violence
June 03, 2022
The American Hospital Association’s #HAVhope, or Hospitals Against Violence Day, highlights how America’s hospitals and health systems combat violence in their workplaces and communities.
The first Friday of June is the American Hospital Association’s #HAVhope Friday, a day organized by Hospitals Against Violence (HAV) to highlight the work hospitals and health systems across the nation are doing to build safe workplaces and communities for their employees. This year, June 3 marks the sixth annual #HAVhope Friday and focuses on the healthcare industry’s continued work toward partnerships, innovations and creative thinking, all focused on workplace safety and respect. June 1, 2022 was a tragic reminder why #HAVhope is an important message to share after four people were killed and several others injured at St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa. In recent years, workplace violence against healthcare workers has been on the rise. According to an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 2018 report, about 75 percent of nearly 25,000 reported annual workplace assaults occur in healthcare and social service settings. Those who don’t work in healthcare may be surprised to learn that violent altercations are common.
“As a health system leader, I am impressed by the support Renown’s employees show one another. However, I know that it is my responsibility to protect our team. Renown Health has a zero tolerance for any person engaging in an intentional act that threatens the safety, health, life or well-being of another person,” said Dr. Thomas Graf, Renown Health CEO. “I encourage all patients and members of our community to support care providers by ensuring they feel safe at work.”
Hospital settings can create fear and stress for patients and their families. Pain, stress, mind-altering medications and difficult prognoses can amplify these feelings. While inappropriate responses may be understandable, violence cannot be tolerated. At Renown Health, we take violence seriously and support our employees in reporting any violent occurrences. Acts of violence can include the following: anger-related accidents; arson; displays of anger; physical assaults including battery, grabbing, punching, kicking, pushing/shoving; sabotage, pranks; sexual assault; stalking/surveillance; theft; threats - shaking fist, verbal or written, violating personal space; throwing objects; vandalism, property damage; and verbal assaults.
“In order to support our employees, we have clear, mandatory policies and protocols for reporting and investigating violent incidents,” said Amy McCombs, Vice President of Quality and Acute Care at Renown Health. “Recently, 20 Renown employees participated in a workplace violence prevention program with AVADE. This program gave participants the tools they need to help prevent violence at work.”
Renown Health has several systems in place to support and protect employees. For example, staff orientation includes classes to prepare employees to prevent and de-escalate verbal or physical abuse. Renown also offers ongoing education to train staff to respond to violent situations. If an incident does occur, our violence prevention task force reviews incidents and ensures the impacted employees receive resources and counseling to help them process what has occurred. Renown Health values partnerships with community organizations including local law enforcement agencies like the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office and the Reno Police Department. Renown Health maintains a close relationship with these partners, and we alert them when our care teams experience an increase in violent incidents.
(Pictured Above: Participants in Renown’s violence prevention training program)
About Renown Health
Renown Health is the region’s largest, locally governed, not-for-profit integrated healthcare network serving Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. With a diverse workforce of more than 7,000 employees, Renown has fostered a longstanding culture of excellence, determination and innovation. The organization comprises a trauma center, two acute care hospitals, a children’s hospital, a rehabilitation hospital, a medical group and urgent care network, and the region’s largest, locally owned not-for-profit insurance company, Hometown Health. Renown is currently enrolling participants in the world’s largest community-based genetic population health study, the Healthy Nevada Project®. For more information, visit renown.org.
Pictured left to right: Erin VanKirk, MSN, RN, Renown Health Director of Nursing Education; Mitch Krebs, Program Director at Helmsley Charitable Trust; Dr. Graf, Renown Health CEO; Greg Walaitis Renown Health Chief Development Officer.
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