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Registered Healthcare Nurse: My Thought On Safety And Security At Work

When I first went to nursing school, my Grandaddy, an experienced WWII medic and pharmacist, gave me one piece of advice that I will never forget. He told me that nothing will distance me more from my patient than being a poor Phlebotomist. So, I worked hard to be an excellent stick. After 10 years in the ICU, Trauma Units and over 20 travel contracts, I can say that most days, I feel I have achieved that point.

But no one warned me about the things that would cause me to distance myself from the patients. I have seen a ton of things; but to this day, I still have a profound emotional reaction when they are physically or verbally abusive towards me. With my years of experience and security training I respond better than I used to but, that is because I have learned the art of Tactical Empathy. I am a firm believer in using innovative products, designing well-written policies, and implementing proper procedures. They’re all needed to create a culture of safety within an organization.

"Protective clothing allows us to establish a connection with patients"

I once heard a quote that we now use as a core value in our company, "Security is not the absence of threat, but the presence of connection." BitePRO® Protective Clothing allows for that reconnection. Bites, pinches, and scratches; especially those that leave marks, make it difficult to overcome personal emotional responses to violence. It then becomes even more difficult to attempt to reestablish a connection with patients. The scars became a constant reminder on my days of the poor interaction I had and the fact that a profession I loved had become one where violence was just “part of the job”.

bite resistant arm guards

That was until I started my journey building Cortex Gold. We are a group of military vets and seasoned clinicians dedicated to creating a standard recommendation for healthcare security. BitePRO® was one of my first contacts years ago as we began building our network of expert solutions to bring to healthcare. I was so encouraged by the mission, vision and innovation of their Founder and CEO Robert Kaiser and his team.

"Finally!" I remember exclaiming to my co-founder DelaCruz, "Something that can protect us while we are still able to safely connect with patients and provide care! Why isn't this in every hospital?"

Because there has never been anything like it before.

After reviewing the specs, he said, "I want to try it". Robert sent us a sample and not only did DelaCruz go for a 3-mile jog in the very comfortable jacket, but I took the liberty of slicing his arm with one of my brother's chef's knives. We were impressed by the light weight, durability of the fabric and how well it worked. We no longer enter any facility without our bite resistant jackets now.

You wouldn't ask a world-renowned orthopedic surgeon to perform a knee replacement without the right tools, would you? It wouldn't matter how great he was, if he didn't have the equipment, he would have an awfully hard time drilling out bone and hammering new equipment in place right? So, don't ask your highly skilled care providers to handle increased violence without the right equipment! Giving staff tools like BitePRO® that will leave them feeling safe and supported is a simple cost-effective way to retain staff at the bedside.

At Cortex Gold, we teach that the key to mitigating patient and visitor generated violence is to be prepared; and respond, not just react to events. Tactical Empathy training and release techniques for grabs and pinches are two great tools to utilize in collaboration with an innovative product like BitePRO®. The combination between proper training and proper equipment will create a culture of safety within your organization.

When facilities ask us our opinion on BitePRO® and other solutions made by PPSS Group, we always say the same thing, "It is better to have it and not need it, then to need it and not have it.” But from the data we are gathering in multiple facilities across the world, you will eventually need it.

About the AuthorFor more information on how to integrate BitePRO® products for the safety and support of your employees and get the most ROI, please reach out to Mel Cortez via LinkedIn. Mel and her team are experts in policy development and integration of new and innovative solutions for healthcare security. For more information on their journey on their collaboration with Veterans to establish a standard for healthcare security, visit their company’s website.