Does your hospital "lock down" after visiting hours????

Nurses General Nursing


Just a question...I was wondering how many of you work at a hospital that actually does not allow visitors in after visiting hours is over?? I mean do they lock the doors, turn off pt phones, only way in is the ED entrance...Anything like that???

I'm asking because my hospital DOES NOT lock down in anyway....visitors come and go through out the night!! Doesn't matter if it is 2am or 2pm...No one stops them at the front entrance.

It is so creepy to be sitting at your desk charting and get that creepy feeling and turn around to see 5 people standing there "we come to see "mama"!!! (usuallly drunk and disruptive, loud and intrusive.....the usual:( )

One time a person put there finger in a nurses back that was charting and said..>"you know I could shoot you if I wanted to; it would be easy"!!!!!! Bad thing is that he is right!!

I work at a level one trauma center with many attempted murders, gang violence, etc.....

Just the other night I had to have a visitor physically removed from my floor and hospital b/c of the threatening behaivor and verbal abuse. Although he was told not to come back that night there would be no way to have stopped him.

It is scary to think that you could be in danger at work from the visitors.....the adminstrators are more concerned with being "community friendly" than maintaining the physical safety of their staff!!!

What is your input????:confused:


777 Posts

Thats horrible.. I definitely dont want to work in a place like that..

I really feel for you

Specializes in Med/Surg, ER, L&D, ICU, OR, Educator.

Yes, we do! We are quite rural and no "security dept.". We lock up at 2100(ish) and open up again at 0530(ish). Anyone wanting to enter between those hours must use the ER door (camera at the entrance), and be buzzed in. This is so that we know exactly who is in the building with us.

Yes, we worry a bit about someone collapsing outside the door (has not yet happened), but we also worry about someone entering with nepharious intentions (has happened) and but a skeleton staff (of 4 usually) being sitting ducks.


6,011 Posts


Not really. For awhile staff had to show an ID or scan their ID to get in after 11P, but generally it's open door.

ktwlpn, LPN

3,844 Posts

Specializes in LTC,Hospice/palliative care,acute care.

Heres a few horror stories for you-back in the early 80's a guy entered the first floor of a small local nursing home during the night shift.He robbed and took all 3 staff members out of the building-leaving that floor unattended for who knows how long-after he was finished with them he took their clothing and shoes and left them in a nearby cornfield-to crawl back to the home...They did survive-the violence against them was sexual in nature.By the next Monday they had panic buttons at every desk-beefed up security and new locks on all doors...Our local hospital had a scare a few years ago-the son of a patient flipped out and held the police at bay around his home for hours-shooting at them and the neighbors.We were freaked-at one point they were thinking that he got out of the back of the house and we were afraid that he was coming to see his mother-the hospital was surrounded by cops FAST....He was still in the home-and I think he ended up killing himself...We live in a scary world....

gwenith, BSN, RN

3,755 Posts

Specializes in ICU.

In the eighties in Cairns Australia a man walkied into the hospital with a gun and shot the first person he came across who was a radiographer. Cairns is RURAL. Hospital security was beefed up. Ours is locked up and you have to code in. The newer hospitals have id passes.

You definitely need to lobby the hospital management for more and better security.

While it is your problem managment will do nothing. So we have to shift "ownership" of the problem from nursing to management. Start a "Monthly security log" entering breeches such as the drunk visitors at 2 am pointing out that it not only inconvieniences nursing staff but your patients who do not want to be disturbed by this.

Bring it up at your staff meeting and explain what you are about and why and recruit security into it. Once you have some sort of record of how many people are wandering in and out who are causing problems then you can use that to point out that these people could be walking off with hospital equipment. Prevention of theft will cau$e management to con$ider increa$ed $ecurity where potential threats to nursing staff would not.


112 Posts

Aster a certain hour, we have a code # used for entering/exiting the building. There is also a security guard who makes rounds periodically during the day, more so @ noc.


316 Posts

Specializes in Emergency.

The hospital I used to work at was quite liberal in their visiting hour privileges. While they posted visiting hours, you could come and go at any hour.

The only way in was through the ER entrance - the main entrance was locked down. For awhile there was a security officer there who would make you sign in and state your business. It was a small 200 bed hospital, so this worked fairly efficiently. I know with budget cuts there was talk of reducing his position, but I don't know if this happened or not.

My biggest beef with hospital security was the old farts they would hire. When I say "old" I mean old, retired, and over 70. They were the nicest people, mind you, but I could crawl faster than they could run. If a security issue came up, and it often did in the ER, I felt much safer with the paramedics floating around than I did with Barney Fife!


213 Posts

violence can happen during the day also. security is needed all the time. however, no one is going to tell me when i can visit my loved one in the hospital.


626 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg, Long Term Care.

I work in a suburban hospital and after visiting hours are over at 8:00, I believe the doors are then locked, and the only way in is through the ED. I think security is somewhat lax, though. I've had patient's family members want to come back and visit after hours and I tell them to go through the ED entrance and see security for a visitor pass, but I've had visitors say that they couldn't find anyone at the security desk for a pass. :rolleyes:

I know I shouldn't judge by appearance, but the few security guys I've seen don't look that capable of helping in a crisis situation. I'd feel more secure if I saw big, burly, menacing security guys strolling the hospital.


8 Posts

I am a Travel Nurse and every hospital I have worked in has had visiting hours with the main enterances locked at a certain time. Some hospital were more relaxed about visitors comming up to the floor after hours but in all they had to go through the ED and were uasually anounced that they were comming up to the floor.

That does sound really scarry having the main enterance open all night like that- how dangerous.

Tweety, BSN, RN

33,525 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac.

We lock down with the only entrance being the emergency room. Visiting is allowed but first security must call the nurses and get permission first to send a visitor up. It's always at the nurses discretion.

I worked at a hospital that had 24 hour visiting hours because all the rooms were private. There was an assault and I think they stopped that.

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