Safeguarding Nurses: Addressing Workplace Violence and Staffing Crisis with Advanced Security Technologies

A recent report showcased a stark reality: nurses across the nation are grappling with alarmingly high rates of workplace violence. This sobering revelation not only underscores the challenges within health care but also spotlights a significant factor exacerbating the industry's ongoing staffing crisis. National Nurses United (NNU) polled nearly 1,000 nurses across the country and found that an alarming 81.6% of respondents reported experiencing some form of workplace violence within the past year, with almost half noting an increase on their unit. In sharp contrast, only 3.8% of nurses reported a decrease in such incidents.

Furthermore, NNU's 2023 survey reveals the profound impact of workplace violence, emphasizing its role as a major contributor to the health care staffing crisis. Shockingly, 19.2% of nurses have changed or left their jobs due to violence, while 37.2% contemplate leaving the profession altogether.

As violence against health care workers continues to rise, the need for additional security measures has become more urgent. Hospital leaders are seeking strategies to enhance workplace safety while upholding patient care standards.

One innovative approach involves the implementation of proactive technologies, such as license plate recognition (LPR) and audio threat detection, which extend security measures beyond the confines of medical buildings. By establishing a virtual perimeter around hospital campuses, these solutions enable proactive detection and mitigation of potential threats before individuals reach the hospital entrance, thereby safeguarding staff and patients.

License Plate Recognition (LPR): Your First Line of Defense

While physical measures can establish a barrier around healthcare facilities, technology solutions offer real-time insights into potential threats and aid in deterring unauthorized access.

Given that most individuals access healthcare sites via vehicles, LPR cameras, which detect and identify license plates, play a pivotal role. By deploying LPR cameras strategically at entry and exit points, hospitals can establish a virtual security perimeter so security personnel can identify and intercept threats in real-time. Advanced LPR systems, such as those provided by Flock Safety, enable hospital security personnel to receive real-time alerts when previously flagged vehicles of concern enter a facility. This list may include those associated with banned visitors, violent patients, or terminated employees.

For example, if a patient threatens a doctor or a nurse's partner has a restraining order, those individuals and their license plates can be entered into the Flock Safety system. If those individuals enter hospital property, security will be notified in real-time to prevent them from entering the building,ultimately deterring potential violence.

Advanced LPR systems can facilitate information sharing across hospital sites and with local law enforcement agencies. Hospitals have the option to share LPR data with law enforcement, enabling immediate alerts if vehicles linked to criminal activity approach the premises.

Audio Detection Technology: Life-saving Intervention

Lastly, the rise of gun violence incidents within U.S. hospitals and medical centers presents a dire threat to nurse safety, prompting urgent measures for protection. One effective solution hospitals can explore is audio detection technology, designed to detect and prevent gun-related crimes.

Advanced audio detection devices, such as those offered by Flock Safety, seamlessly integrate with LPR cameras to swiftly respond to gunshots. By promptly identifying such incidents, security personnel can implement timely lockdown procedures, effectively mitigating risks and prioritizing the safety of nurses who frequently encounter such emergencies firsthand.

Conclusion

The concerning prevalence of workplace violence against nurses highlights a significant challenge within the healthcare sector, amplifying the ongoing staffing crisis. This underscores the urgent need for heightened security measures in healthcare facilities. Proactive technologies like LPR and audio detection emerge as indispensable tools in fortifying hospital security, establishing virtual perimeters, and swiftly responding to potential threats.

By prioritizing the safety and well-being of nurses through these advanced security solutions, hospitals can foster a supportive work environment conducive to nurse retention, ultimately ensuring the continued delivery of quality patient care.

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