Riverside Healthcare CEO: 'Staff cannot provide attentive care when they are afraid for their personal safety'

Amid a rise in violence against healthcare workers, Phillip Kambic, president and CEO of Kankakee, Ill.-based Riverside Healthcare, is speaking out in support of a violence-free workplace and calling for civility from the public.

Mr. Kambic expressed his thoughts in an opinion piece published Aug. 20 in the Daily Journal.   

"In recent months, those who are here to help have increasingly found themselves the victims of violence as they try to do their jobs," he wrote. "Violence against healthcare workers has been on the rise throughout the pandemic, and sadly, that trend is continuing across the country and here at Riverside as well."

Mr. Kambic also said verbal abuse, intimidation and acts of violence not only "cause physical and psychological injury for healthcare workers" but also "make it more difficult for nurses, doctors and other staff to provide quality patient care."

"Staff cannot provide attentive care when they are afraid for their personal safety, distracted by disruptive patients and family members, or traumatized from prior violent interactions," he said.

Additionally, Mr. Kambic said violence against healthcare workers also "tie[s] up valuable resources and can delay urgently needed care for other patients."

To address the issue, he supports the Safety From Violence for Healthcare Employees Act, a proposed federal bill to protect healthcare workers from violence that is modeled after protections for aircraft and airport workers.

Mr. Kambic said Riverside has also placed signs in the elevators that say: "Your words matter. Your behaviors matter. Our patients and our teams matter. Please show respect and consideration for all patients, visitors and staff."

"Hopefully, these signs will remind those who see them that healing is a group effort," he said. 

Mr. Kambic is not the only healthcare executive to pen an opinion piece about the issue.

In his own piece, published Aug. 8 in The Charlotte Observer, Craig Albanese, MD, executive vice president and COO of Duke University Health System, also called for an end to the "ugly epidemic of violence" against healthcare workers, further calling for civility from the public following an attack on an emergency room nurse.

To read Mr. Kambic's full piece, click here

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