Nurses, Advanced Practice Healthcare Professionals, Physicians and Dentists work in hazardous environments. They are riddled with different types of biological exposures; diseases, chemicals, environmental hazards, physical hazards like radiation, and sometimes violence. Still, healthcare professionals are often viewed as immune to injury or illness. Many times, hospital, healthcare management and administrators tend to turn a blind eye to complaints of unsafe work environments.
COVID19 And Propper PPE’s
With the COVID19 pandemic many nurses and healthcare providers in general were denied Personal Protective Equipment. Providers were told that they would lose their jobs or be placed on suspension for bring their own from home. Others were told to clean and recycle masks.
There are more than 18 million healthcare workers in the United States. PPE’s are used to protect healthcare providers from disease as well as protect immunocompromised patients. Improper use or lack of there of place employees and patients at greater of transmitting disease. Dysfunctional safety standards in healthcare settings have recently imploded like a weeping abscess. Fearing for their safety and the safety of their families, healthcare providers have walked off their jobs.
In recent years the number of violent assaults against Nurses and healthcare providers has increased. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports of nearly 25,000 workplace assaults reported annually. 75% occur in health care and social service settings. Workers in healthcare settings are 4 times more likely to be victimized than workers in private industry. A 2014 survey on hospital crime attributed 75% of aggravated assaults and 93 % of all assaults against health care workers to patients or customers.
What Can You Do To Ensure A Healthy And Safe Workplace Environment While On A Locums Assignment?
Nurses and Advanced Healthcare Providers need to empower themselves to take full accountability of their own personal safety and of their work environment. Employees perceptions and attitudes can differ regarding current safety standards. For example, what an administrator who has had no patient care may see as safe, a Nurse or advance healthcare professional with many years of patient care experience may beg to differ.
Locums work can take you to a variety of healthcare environments which may not be so safe. Some tips Nurses and Healthcare Professionals can employ when working in a healthcare new healthcare care setting are:
-Be aware of your surroundings: Always be aware of your surroundings when you are on assignment. If you are working in a city or neighborhood you are not familiar with, do your research. Do a computer research on crime statistics, ask fellow coworkers regarding safety of the area. Make sure you have proper supplies and protective equipment before starting your workday.
-Propper PPE’s: Before taking an assignment, it’s best to ask your recruiter and or healthcare facility where you will be working, what their PPE availability along with quantity and reuse. If they are lacking in supply, you may need to ask if you can supply your own.
-Trust your intuition: Your intuition is your best guide to safety. Per Gavin De Becker the author of “The Gift Of Fear, he states “Nature’s greatest accomplishment, the human brain is never more invested than when it’s host is at risk. A strong intuition comes from experience. If you are feeling uneasy about your surroundings or a certain situation, it’s best to stop and evaluate how you feel and why?
-Ensure your own safety: You are in charge of your own personal health and safety. If you do not feel safe in, then it is your responsibility to report it to your supervisor, office manager and your recruiter. If you and your management team cannot agree on proper safety measures then you may have to re consider your assignment and your options.
The safety of Nurses, Advanced Healthcare Providers, Doctors and Dentists is not an option, it’s a requirement. When healthcare employees are made to feel safe on the job, their patients and patient care will also be safe. All healthcare providers need to take full accountability of their own PPE’s and the safety of their environment.
Ersilia Pompilio RN, MSN, PNP