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Can Guns Prevent Workplace Violence?

Can Guns Prevent Workplace Violence?
Me: “Hello, nice to meet you . . .”
 
A tradeshow booth visitor: “You know, I think you need to take your program up a notch.”
 
Oh boy, I thought.
 
And yet, I'm intrigued by comments like this.
 
Often someone will say to me, “You know, you guys should add . . . ” or “You know, you guys should teach . . .”, and they usually suggest something we already offer. Or sometimes they suggest something unrelated to what we do or something we’re not experts in. Those are easy comments and questions to address.
 
And we really want to know what’s working well for organizations and what, if any, perceived (or actual) gaps exist with our Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® training program and organizations’ ongoing training processes. We take our customers’ feedback very seriously and conduct surveys regularly. And so . . .
 
“I think you should take the program up a notch,” someone said.
 
“How so?” I asked.
 
“Add guns.”
 
“Huh,” I thought to myself.
 
And I asked, with the utmost sincerity, “Are you being serious or facetious?”
 
“I’m serious,” the man said.
 
Now, I’m not here to begin a gun debate or anything like that. But seriously—adding guns to our program would not be reasonable given that we teach a program called Nonviolent Crisis Intervention®.
 
So I quickly made the assumption that he might have been wishing to discuss the current industry debate of whether or not security officers (especially in the ED) should be armed or not, have Tasers or not, or use pepper spray or not, as part of their continuum of interventions. I personally have great concerns about arming security in healthcare, but I can see both sides of that discussion, and the merits of having that discussion.
 
Sadly, that’s not what this man meant. He was talking about employees having guns.
 
While he’s entitled to his opinion, I have to say that the reason I love our training program is that it aligns with my passion for safety and respect and preventing violence and harm. I think I can safely speak for all of us at CPI when I say that guns have no place in a training program that’s aimed at preventing violence.

Another common question I get is “Do you have anything online or shorter for that?”
 
I’m all about building efficiencies into training to reduce cost and time. I also believe that efficiency can be achieved in a way that doesn’t compromise effectiveness. Our hybrid delivery option is a great example of this. There’s no way to teach the necessary skills and apply them to daily practice without some classroom time. However, using a blended-learning option, you can certainly front-load your learners so that, once they’re in the classroom, you can immediately apply those skills to their daily practice and teach and practice those elements of the program that can’t be taught online, like CPI’s Personal Safety TechniquesSM
 
So I totally get it: shorter, easier to access.
 
But how we talk about that calls for some sensitivity.
 
At the same time I’m hearing these requests, I’m also hearing how important it is to train staff. I’m hearing stories about the need for training, and seeing the fading signs of a serious hematoma from a bite.
 
What message does it send about how we value our staff if we’re continually looking for ways to “shorten” training, or looking for options that don’t include the full array of necessary skills?
 
I’m also hearing from many of you about OSHA inspections in response to worker injuries sustained in healthcare. This makes me ask a vitally important question: Are you doing everything to maintain a safe workplace?

Workplace violence is a recognized and prevalent risk in healthcare. It’s imperative that we do all we can to safely prevent and mitigate the risks associated with all types of workplace violence.

What do you think? What really works when it comes to keeping staff and patients safe?
 
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