The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) is a leader when it comes to advocating against violence in emergency departments (EDs). In a 2018 ACEP survey, 47 percent and 71 percent of emergency physicians reported being assaulted or witnessing an assault respectively.
Part of ACEP’s vision statement states, “emergency physicians practice in an environment in which their rights, safety, and wellness are assured.” ACEP is actively involved in addressing this issue through a number of resources, including surveys, statements, lectures, podcasts, policies, and countless articles.
ACEP released its original policy around violence in the ED in 1993, which has since been reaffirmed and revised. This policy states that ACEP “believes that workplace violence is a preventable and significant public health problem…” It continues to say that optimal patient care can’t be achieved unless patients and staff are protected against violence through increased safety measures and state legislation providing maximum criminal penalty against offenders.
ACEP’s workplace violence policy lists a number of responsibilities hospitals and hospital administrators have to ensure safety in the ED and for emergency medical services (EMS) personnel. These responsibilities include: installing security systems, developing written protocols, educating staff, enforcing reporting policies, and providing support in the case of violent incidents.
Meeting these responsibilities helps hospital staff feel heard and supported. For example, hospital leadership started taking concerns more seriously when a 20 percent increase in logged incidents occurred after CHI St. Anthony Hospital staff starting recording security events in Collective’s platform. This allowed the hospital to get security and start sending staff to de-escalation and restraint classes.
Most recently, ACEP has released a letter of support for H.R. 1309: The Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act, introduced in February 2019. This bill would require the Department of Labor to address workplace violence in healthcare and social services by investigating incidents or risks, providing training, meeting record-keeping requirements, and prohibiting discrimination against employees who report incidents or concerns.
At Collective Medical, we know workplace violence in healthcare settings is a nationwide epidemic and support ACEP as it works to address concerns of healthcare workers across the nation. Collective provides a proactive approach to workplace safety by alerting providers across the network of past security events patients may have, allowing staff to take precautionary measures when caring for patients.