Posted on June 4, 2021
June 4 is a national day of awareness to end violence, and I would like to share a press release from Bristol Hospital regarding an important initiative called Hospitals Against Violence. Hospitals Against Violence is a campaign started by the American Hospital Association that highlights how Bristol Health, as well as hospitals and health systems across America can combat violence in their workplaces and communities. The goal of this initiative is to address workplace and community violence through staff training, mental health support programs and building community ties, including:
TO: All Bristol Health Employees, Board Members, Medical Staff, Corporators and Volunteers
FROM: Kurt A. Barwis, FACHE, President and CEO, Bristol Health
Today, June 4, is a national day of awareness to end violence in our workplaces and communities.
The Hospitals Against Violence campaign is an effort by the American Hospital Association, and hospitals and health systems across the nation, to raise awareness about community-based violence, street and gang violence, human trafficking and workplace violence. I’m enormously proud to note that this program was unveiled right here at Bristol Hospital in partnership with the AHA three years ago, in June 2018.
Healthcare workers are disproportionately impacted by workplace violence. Data from the CDC shows that 73% of workplace violence incidents in 2018 were healthcare workers and a 2020 article from the journal Occupational Health & Safety reported 21% of nurses and nursing students had reported being physically assaulted on the job.
In some ways, this data isn’t surprising. Many of the people to whom we provide care are undergoing crises or have mental health issues, and healthcare providers are on the front lines every day, bearing the brunt of their stress and pain. Unfortunately, this past year’s COVID pandemic has only increased stress levels for providers and patients alike.
However, I #HAVhope that we’re making our workplace and communities safer. The culture here at Bristol Health is of continuous learning and performance improvement and that includes working hard to make this a safer place to work.
In the last two years, we’ve implemented violence de-escalation training for staff, trained SBHU staff in Dementia Capable Care and added a Violent Patient alert in the EHR. Recognizing that caregivers often feel they have to shoulder the burden of workplace violence, we encourage staff not to accept violent incidents as “just a part of my job,” but to report them. And when staff are impacted by violence or other traumatic experiences, we offer support through our S.O.S. peer support program.
We’re also working with community organizations to address health crises before they become violence incidents. We have a key role in the City of Bristol Recovery Alliance (COBRA); are working to increase engagement and programming with the local NAACP chapter and have created the 8:46 Program, which includes unconscious bias training for all employees and a focus on racial equity in healthcare.
I’m proud to say our efforts are working. Since 2019, workplace violence incidents at Bristol Health have dropped by more than 50% and on track to be even lower this year.
I thank you for your hard work and resilience and for continuing to inspire all of us with hope.
Kurt A. Barwis, FACHE
President & Chief Executive Officer | Bristol Health
ACHE Governor | District 1