Hospitals and Workplace Violence – Lateral Violence

A few weeks ago I wrote about a hospital in Brooklyn, New York, being fined almost $80,000 for significant failings in terms of providing a safe workplace for their staff.

There were several horrific stories of attacks on staff from patients and visitors.

On September 1st a press release was sent out by The Dubai Hospital in the United Arab Emirates.

The press release referenced the fact that the hospital had previously conducted a survey of its staff with respect to lateral violence within the hospital.

What is Lateral Violence?

Lateral violence is defined by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) defines lateral violence in healthcare as “covert or overt acts of verbal or non-verbal aggression that occur between colleagues.”

That initial survey was delivered to 250 nursing staff members and returned with an excellent 96.4% response rate.

The survey exposed the fact that 56% of respondents had experienced violence within their workplace and 37% had reported some form of abuse through their incident reporting system.

The hospital then began delivering workshops which provided their staff with information on how to recognize workplace violence and how to prevent it and defuse it.

In a proactive move and in trying to establish the current situation, the hospital conducted a repeat survey in February of this year. The results showed that 60% of the respondents expressing a serious concern about workplace violence with a further 34% being somewhat concerned and 4% not being concerned.

There were a variety of responses with respect to the types of violence and aggression experienced within the hospital by staff. These included inappropriate language, relational aggression, verbal abuse and verbal threats of violence.

Results of the Survey

The results of the survey also pointed to the hospital’s administrative staff, supervisors and managers being identified as bullies within the workplace. 

The old adage that you should be “careful what you wish for” is true in the case of The Dubai Hospital with the survey revealing that there is lots of work still to do within the walls of the facility in order for the staff to feel safer working there.

However, at least the hospital now knows what it is dealing with which is a whole lot better than doing nothing at all or sticking their proverbial head in the sand as we have seen many times before.

My hospital hat is off to them.