What You Should Know:
- Patient violence is a top safety concern for healthcare workers, according to recent Motorola Healthcare Worker Safety report.
- Overall, the data shows that healthcare workers feel safe in their respective medical environments, but are grappling with safety issues that have dominated headlines in recent years. Those that have healthcare professionals most concerned include: patients becoming violent (72%), the impacts of burnout/mental health (61%) and active assailants (42%). Healthcare employees also provided insights on their preferred communication methods for when safety issues do arise in facilities or in patients’ homes.
Improving Safety for Healthcare Workers By Understanding Top Concerns
In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, today’s healthcare professionals are grappling with safety issues including patient violence, job burnout and active assailants, all while trying to figure out how new home healthcare dynamics may affect their level of personal safety.
To better understand healthcare worker concerns, Motorola Solutions conducted the Healthcare Worker Safety Survey. The study, which was fielded between December 2022-January 2023, features responses from 500 respondents working in the healthcare field, including doctors, nurses, technicians and administrators across the United States. Questions center around issues such as personal safety, mental health, the impact of staffing shortages, home healthcare and workers’ preferred communication methods when emergencies arise.
While the report did find that most healthcare workers generally feel safe going to work each day, personal safety remains a top-of-mind concern for many workers across the country. The key findings from the report are as follows:
- Patient violence is the top safety concern for healthcare workers: Almost half of all respondents (46%) say that a violent incident has occurred in their hospital/healthcare system over the past year. Some of the biggest safety concerns healthcare workers have include patient(s) becoming violent (72%), the impacts of burnout/mental health (61%) and active assailants (42%).
- Personal safety is a top priority for healthcare workers and factors into whether they continue working in the industry: When asked about their top employment priorities during a job search, 26% of respondents said that workplace safety is among their highest priorities. More than half (54%) of healthcare workers noted that they would be at least somewhat likely to quit if a violent incident unfolded in their workplace. Persistent staff attrition and shortages create a vicious cycle that can ultimately cause more staff safety concerns.
- Mental health is not getting better—it’s getting worse and compounding safety concerns: Over half of respondents (56%) said that their/their colleagues’ mental health is generally worse now than during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, with nurses responding that mental health is extremely worse now (24%).
- Home healthcare services are throwing a wrench into safety plans: Several years before the pandemic, a healthcare paradigm shift had already begun. Healthcare providers began to utilize technology and expanded care teams so that treatment could be administered outside of the traditional healthcare setting. During COVID, at-home healthcare services and the number of agencies providing treatment in the home or via telemedicine appointments became more commonplace. And today, patients are increasingly choosing to recover or receive care at home. This shift, however, has created additional personal safety vulnerabilities for caregivers entering the home. Nearly half (47%) of respondents to this survey were unsure if their hospital/healthcare system had different safety protocols for at-home care delivery vs. in a traditional hospital setting.
- Healthcare employees believe the right safety communications and training will help them feel more prepared for workplace safety scenarios: Specifically, respondents shared that they would feel more prepared if their workplace utilized panic button technology or another 9-1-1 alerting system (55%); conducted safety procedure training (51%); used customized text and/or phone alerts (48%); made safety plans digital and easy to access for all staff (46%); and offered a safety app with resources, plans, and emergency contacts (44%).