Jobs in the healthcare sector take a toll on providers’ mental, emotional, and sometimes physical, health. For healthcare workers worldwide, incidents of violence, injuries, burnout, and anxiety are increasingly high. These workers’ exposure to aggressive patient behaviors and other forms of workplace violence justifies the need for strict safety rules and regulations. An absence of meaningful safety measures negatively impacts employees’ job satisfaction and loyalty. To not only prevent or diffuse incidents of violence, but also to ensure employee retention in the healthcare workplace, employers must take measures to keep employees safe. To mitigate workplace violence in healthcare, every environment in which patient care occurs should have a workplace safety plan. These plans should include measures designed to diffuse violent incidents, a means to discreetly call for help, and an awareness of the vital role that a culture of safety plays in healthcare employee retention.
How Workplace Safety Aids in Retention and Recruitment
Studies show that job satisfaction and employee loyalty are essential factors in job performance and employee retention. Job satisfaction and loyalty positively influence service sector jobs, including healthcare, that highly depend on employee behavior. According to LinkedIn, prioritizing employee safety “not only helps protect them from potentially tragic injuries and reduces the costs associated with missed time, but it also helps drive employee retention.” Employee safety is a critical ingredient in retaining skilled employees. Doing so keeps organizations running smoothly and ensures high-quality patient care.
Workplace safety, particularly in high-risk industries like healthcare, is also key to attracting and retaining top talent. A healthcare organization with a reputation for safety and a proven track record of preventing workplace violence in healthcare becomes attractive to prospective employees. According to LinkedIn’s Human Resources experts, several factors are critical to establishing a culture of safety in the healthcare workplace:
- Open channels of communication ensure the transparent exchange of information about safety protocols and employees’ safety concerns.
- A reduction in workplace safety incidents indicates to prospective and current employees that their safety is valued.
- Job satisfaction improves when employees are safe and able to concentrate on their work and take steps toward professional development.
- Employees are more productive when employers Implement safety programs designed to reduce injuries and prevent or diffuse workplace violence in healthcare.
Particularly because incidents of violence are increasing in healthcare settings, creating a culture of safety is critical for organizations that wish to recruit and retain skilled nurses, physicians, and other staff. According to one study of job satisfaction among nurses, workplace violence significantly diminishes job satisfaction and nurses’ ability to thrive at work. Workplace violence in healthcare also significantly influences nurses’ decisions to seek other employment. According to the study’s authors, “workplace violence and its negative impact on nursing work should not go unnoticed by nursing managers.” Nurse well-being is critical in mitigating the adverse effects of workplace violence, including absenteeism and the possibility of choosing to leave the organization or the profession. Creating a culture of safety in which healthcare workers feel valued and safe—and in which incidents of workplace violence are effectively prevented or managed—is key to running an effective healthcare workplace.
Workplaces that retain a high percentage of seasoned employees are safer than those with high rates of turnover. Retaining experienced employees is crucially important in industries, including healthcare, in which errors can be deadly. Employees who are familiar with workplace protocols and safety measures reduce the likelihood of incidents. Conversely, a workforce made up entirely of new employees, or with a high turnover rate, will have a much higher incident rate. Long-term employees provide stability to healthcare organizations; when they feel valued, they also offer loyalty and dedication. This high level of job satisfaction leads to increased safety and productivity. Safer workplaces are home to satisfied employees who, in turn, make workplaces safer.
Absenteeism and Workplace Violence in Healthcare
Rising demand for healthcare services coupled with growing shortages of nurses has high professional and mental health costs for nurses. The following negative costs lead directly to job dissatisfaction, burnout, and turnover:
- significant percentages of nurses working second jobs
- nurses’ inability to spend adequate time with patients
- worry about workplace violence
- concern that their jobs are affecting their health
- plans to leave their current job
- dissatisfaction with their work-life balance
When healthcare employees experience violent incidents or must work in an environment in which violence is commonplace, their physical and mental health is negatively affected. This negatively impacts both their productivity and their attendance. When healthcare workers are absent, their coworkers must take on the responsibility of making up for the lost productivity of the absent employee. These employees then fall victim to stress and burnout, which leads to further absenteeism. This vicious cycle forces managers to cover for absent employees, preventing them from focusing on important management functions.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), workplace violence in healthcare leads to increased absenteeism and use of sick leave by nurses, lower productivity and morale, and more frequent requests for transfer. The CDC urges hospital and healthcare administrators to “consider the role that prevention of work-related violence plays in improving the quality of working life for nurses, with an eye on improving staff retention rates.” Individual healthcare professionals, healthcare organizations, and patients benefit from increased attention to, and efforts to prevent, workplace violence in healthcare.
Workplace Safety Plans Create a Culture of Safety
Hospitals and other healthcare organizations that wish to create and retain top talent must keep their employees safe. They can do so by establishing a workplace safety plan that includes CENTEGIX CrisisAlert wearable emergency badges. These mobile panic buttons allow employees to discreetly alert a team when they are involved in incidents of workplace violence in healthcare. Caregivers can immediately alert administrators, other team members, hospital security, and even first responders to the precise location of an incident. Because the CENTEGIX CrisisAlert safety system is functional throughout a hospital or organization’s entire campus, employees retain a sense of safety regardless of their location.
The CENTEGIX CrisisAlert system enables healthcare providers to diffuse potentially violent incidents without calling department-wide attention to a specific room or patient. By simply activating the badge, caregivers can quickly and easily summon help, thereby regaining control of the situation. These employees can then quickly transition back into providing care for patients. The access to the immediate and effective assistance CrisisAlert nurtures a culture of safety that contributes to a healthy sense of security. Employees who receive immediate support from administrators and other team members know that they are valued and that their safety is a priority. This higher level of job satisfaction mitigates employee turnover and allows organizations to retain skilled employees over the long term. The result? A safer workplace for everyone.
CENTEGIX is the leader in incident response solutions. Our CrisisAlert platform is the fastest and easiest way for staff to call for help in any emergency, from the everyday to the extreme. CENTEGIX creates safer spaces by innovating technology to empower and protect people, and leaders nationwide trust our safety solutions to provide peace of mind. To learn more about CENTEGIX, visit www.centegix.com.