As we leave for Atlanta to attend ANA’s (American Nurses Association) 7th Annual Nursing Quality Conference™, I’m getting excited to hear more from those in the field on creating and sustaining a culture of safety.

Integrating a program like CPI’s Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® training is just one small part of a bigger culture change for many organizations. I often find that hospitals are quick to pass the buck on the bottom line of who is responsible for safety in the organization. But the real answer—or at least the one I speak of with organizations—is that it is everyone’s responsibility— everyone’s.

It’s not enough to say “We have a zero-tolerance policy for violence.” The truth is that everyone does—but how do we actualize that? How do we work together throughout the hospital to ensure that nonviolence is a reality?


Creating a culture of nonviolence is no small task, but it is certainly necessary for providing quality care for patients and employees. If you examine the aspects of “culture,” you find a few places where you can quickly make some lasting change. First is the environment. Go out of your building and enter as if you were a guest to the facility. What does the environment say about the expectations of behavior, both of your staff and visitors? What’s communicated through the signage and the physical plants?

Another quick way to make some lasting change is to establish a common language around the topic of preventing and managing disruptive or assaultive behavior in your facility. Adopting a curriculum like CPI’s Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® training allows you to ensure that all staff use the same language to communicate on the issue.

When we require that everyone in the hospital watches for signs of anxiety (and we all share a common definition of what that is) and we make attempts to offer a supportive approach in those moments (again, with a common definition of what that means in our environment), we are more likely to catch warning signs of a potential crisis. When we ask staff to document the outcome of an intervention, all using a common language, we can learn from one another about what strategies are most effective in our environment.

Adopting a consistent, person-centered way of speaking to the issue of violence prevention is crucial in setting the tone for all employees, patients, visitors, and guests. It’s a great way to ensure that we collaborate as a team on this very important issue and that we work to gain buy-in, not only from all staff departments, but from patients and their families as well. It allows everyone to take an active role in promoting their own personal safety, thereby enhancing the safety of others. If we don’t equip staff with the tools to recognize the early warning signs, we create a situation where it’s always “someone else’s responsibility.”

And so I’m wondering, what are others doing? Can’t wait to hear more and report back!

Learn more about ANA's annual conferences.