It’s no surprise that in 2023, workplace violence is still common within both the healthcare and education sectors.
However, what is surprising is that so many public facing professionals still feel that this is ‘just part of the job,’ and that comfortable protective clothing is considered only in very rare cases.
Workers experiencing many different effects following physical and verbal attacks directed at them, (by either patients, pupils, members of the public or service users), such as physical injuries and poor mental health. There is a possibility that the quality of care (within healthcare) and the quality of education (in schools) will most likely be reduced, as I will explain more shortly.
Addressing workplace violence and worker’s mental health
Experiencing workplace violence can be traumatic, and it is important to seek the proper support if needed. This may include talking to a mental health professional or seeking support from colleagues. In this study by Lim et al, published in Annals of Medicine and Surgery, they stated that:
"Victims of violence are more likely to experience demoralization, depression, loss of self-esteem, ineptitude as well as signs of post-traumatic stress disorders like sleeping disorders, irritability, difficulty concentrating, reliving of trauma, and feeling emotionally upset.”
It is therefore imperative that both healthcare and education facilities do their outmost best to prevent physical and verbal violence being aimed at their colleagues.
Healthcare workers are an essential part of our society, working tirelessly to provide care to patients. Unfortunately, healthcare workers are also at a higher risk of experiencing physical violence in the workplace with them experiencing “73% of nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses” (Annals of Medicine and Surgery). This can include biting, scratching, pinching, and other forms of physical violence.
Impact on quality of healthcare
As a result of worker's poor or reduced mental, the quality of care and attention to patients can subsequently be impacted. Those who often deal with violence whilst working will ultimately experience fatigue, which can lead to poor medical care performance and human errors, such as giving the wrong medication or reading a patient chart wrong. Overall, the level of compassion provided will also be significantly reduced. In worst cases, professionals will decide to leave the profession entirely due to the amount of mental and physical pressure put on them on top of the workplace violence.
Combatting the effects of workplace violence
To combat the effects workplace violence in the healthcare and education sector, there must be proactive steps taken to prevent physical injuries and poor mental health. This includes providing training on how to identify and manage violent situations, implementing safety protocols, and providing workers with the tools and resources they need to protect themselves from harm. Protective clothing should be considered.
It is also important for healthcare workers, teachers and other public facing professionals to speak up if they experience physical violence in the workplace, as this can help to raise awareness and encourage employers to take action to prevent future incidents.
BitePRO® is the world's first specialised brand of bite resistant clothing, offering dependable scratch, pinch, and bite protection. Healthcare and educational professionals, psychiatric social workers and carers, can all be at risk of being harmed by patients, pupils, service users or members of the public. For further information please contact us.
About the Author
Robert Kaiser is the Founder and CEO of BitePRO®, the world's first specialised brand of protective clothing, offering dependable scratch and bite protection for healthcare workers, education professionals, and others working with individuals displaying challenging behaviour. Robert is a widely respected expert in workplace violence and violence prevention. His written work has been published in several international industry leading publications.