Overcoming A Workplace Violence Incident

An 11-year-old patient with autism in the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt grabs the hair of a mental health specialist who is helping, and a patch comes out; an 87-year-old patient with dementia who was pleasant one moment then inappropriately touches a Nurse Resident; a family member threatens to kill a physician when told that their loved one may not make it; or an ED staff member is threatened by a patient with psychosis. These are but a few of the incidents that healthcare professionals deal with on a regular basis.

Our faculty and staff work hard every day to compassionately provide excellent medical care to our patients and their support systems. Sadly, there are situations where our caregivers are verbally or physically assaulted. Being assaulted is not part of the job description. It can shatter the emotional well-being of our staff who are caring for these patients and families.

If you experience or witness a workplace violence event, there is emotional support available to you. As part of the Workplace Violence Support Response, Work/Life Connections-EAP provides Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) for individual and workgroup support following emotionally charged situations such as incidents involving workplace violence.  Trained Clinical Counselors facilitate debriefing discussions providing a safe space to address the emotional impact that such behavior has on the well-being of a workgroup or individual. This is offered both in face-to-face and virtual modalities.

If you, a colleague, or workgroup has suffered physical or emotional harm due to a workplace violence situation, talk with your manager or call Work/Life Connections-EAP at 615-936-1327 to arrange a psychological debriefing.