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9 Principles for Workplace Violence Prevention in Healthcare

According to recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, violent incidents have increased in healthcare settings. Hospital staffers were eight times more likely to experience nonfatal violence-related injuries from other people when compared to employees working in private sector facilities, according to a 2022 joint paper from the American Organization for Nursing Leadership (AONL) and Emergency Nurses Association (ENA).

As of 2022, only 60 percent of hospitals surveyed by the American Hospital Association have implemented workplace violence prevention initiatives.

For organizations interested in developing or updating a workplace violence prevention program, AONL and ENA developed the following principles, advising on how to implement measures to decrease and mitigate violence in healthcare settings. “The guiding principles and priorities listed below include evidence-based steps to systematically reduce and mitigate workplace violence,” the joint paper said.

0423-sm-workplace-violence-prevention-in-healthcare01-100x100.gif1. Organizations should use evidence-based strategies to address all aspects of workplace violence.


0423-sm-workplace-violence-prevention-in-healthcare02-100x100.gif2. Address workplace violence with comprehensive solutions from establishing a zero-tolerance workplace to recognizing the intersecting layers of intrusive, consumer, relations, and organizational violence.


0423-sm-workplace-violence-prevention-in-healthcare03-100x100.gif3. Mitigate workplace violence by establishing support from human resources, nursing staff, legal services, security, risk management, and other areas of staffing support.


0423-sm-workplace-violence-prevention-in-healthcare04-100x100.gif4. Promote a culture of safety to create a healthy work environment, which leads to improved job satisfaction, less absenteeism, reduced turnover, and nurse retention.


0423-sm-workplace-violence-prevention-in-healthcare05-100x100.gif5. Effective workplace violence prevention requires commitment and action from interprofessional teams, including leadership, staff, patients, and visitors.


0423-sm-workplace-violence-prevention-in-healthcare06-100x100.gif6. Everyone in the organization is accountable for upholding foundational standards of non-violent behavior, regardless of position or discipline.


0423-sm-workplace-violence-prevention-in-healthcare07-100x100.gif7. Encourage the healthcare team to identify and address violence in the workplace.


0423-sm-workplace-violence-prevention-in-healthcare08-100x100.gif8. Create a culture of nonviolence through intention, commitment, and collaboration from everyone in an organization.


0423-sm-workplace-violence-prevention-in-healthcare09-100x100.gif9. Address workplace violence to increase the effectiveness of nurse-delivered care and patient care experience.


Source: Mitigating Violence in the Workplace, AONL & ENA Guiding Principles, 2022.