Nearly 75% of workplace assaults occur in healthcare settings.1 Healthcare workplace violence – both physical and emotional – jeopardizes the health and well-being of staff and patients. Healthcare workplace violence can stem from encounters between staff and patients and/or their families, aggression or harassment from co-workers, or the intrusion of community violence into the workplace. Healthcare workers are at an increased risk of workplace violence, with incidents of serious violence occurring four times more often in healthcare than in the private industry.2 However, violence in the healthcare workplace is greatly underreported, masking the true magnitude of this issue.
In addition to the physical and emotional toll caused by workplace violence, workplace violence also has high costs to a healthcare organization, including costs associated with medical treatment, lost productivity, and workers compensation.2 After an episode of workplace violence, staff often experience missed work, burnout, job dissatisfaction, decreased productivity, and a diminished feeling of safety.1 As healthcare workers increasingly face physical and emotional threats, healthcare organizations must protect them from the sources of harm that infringe upon the stability and sustainability of this critical workforce.
The NQP Action Team is committed to improving the safety of the healthcare workforce. The NQP Action Team will seek to reduce healthcare workplace violence by serving as a mechanism for healthcare organizations, community partners, patients, and federal agencies to come together to identify implementation strategies to promote healthcare workplace safety.
National Quality Forum (NQF) convened a multi-stakeholder NQP Action Team for NQF member organizations to engage, share, and learn from one another on a topic of national importance. Through a series of web meetings and one in-person forum, the NQP Action Team developed and shared priorities, goals, and promising practices to inspire action in others. The NQP Action Team explored innovative programs that support safe healthcare work environments, identified best practices that promote physical and emotional safety, and shared processes for reporting and rooting out these safety issues. The NQP Action Team began its work in October 2019 and convened through June 2020.
The Action Team released the NQP Action Team to Prevent Healthcare Workplace Violence Issue Brief (PDF) which seeks to inspire actions from those in the healthcare field by highlighting key themes and opportunities for action including standardizing definitions and data collection, analyzing and sharing data, investing in safety, and collaborating and scaling efforts.
NQP Action Teams are limited to NQF member organizations in good standing. Composition of NQP Action Teams emphasizes a balance of public and private stakeholder representation and diverse perspectives, as well as content expertise and/or leadership in preventing healthcare workplace violence.
For more information on this project or if you organization is interested in sponsoring this initiative, please contact Meredith Gerland at email@example.com.
1 Phillips KP. Workplace violence against health care workers in the United States. N Engl J Med. 2016;374:1661-1669.
2 Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Workplace Violence in Healthcare. Washington, DC; 2015. https://www.osha.gov/ Publications/OSHA3826.pdf. Last accessed June 2019.