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Mental Health vs. Staff Safety (Security)


A few months ago I attended a Instructor Certification Program for Behavioral Risk Management in mental health. The 5 day course was great! The instructors were awesome. As I sat in my class I noticed a female RN who appeared to be quite injured. My first thought

was that she was probably in an auto accident. She shared her story during class. She had been attacked in the ER by the patient she was admitting. I asked her, what did you do? She replied, " I let the patient hit me", I didnt know how to protect myself.

She was taking the class to learn preventive measures on how to avoid personal injury during an attack on bodily harm. I remember the instructor telling her, " No health care worker deserves to be injured on the job by another person who has mental health issues.

There has to be a way to avoid that.

I don't think there is a way to avoid that.

Some of the mental health issues people have cause them to act violent/aggressive.

I would assume one's best bet is to learn some self defense techniques/training. In order to be prepared for an assault.

Which in this case the RN was not prepared for.


Specializes in Forensic Psych. Has 2 years experience.

Every nurse should be CPI/MANDT trained, especially in psych and the ER. Every single nurse.

But still...that only helps so much. It's a risk. I actually feel safer in my psychiatric unit than I did in the ER, because we're as prepared as we can be. I may get hit, but there'll be dozens of trained people running to my aid with every tool they need within seconds, assuming I was following policy.

person who has mental health issues
I am adding a disclaimer to this discussion on your behalf, OP: The majority of those with mental illness are NOT violent. Also, many violent people do NOT have a mental illness.

Spinmass, ADN, BSN, RN, EMT-B

Has 5 years experience.

Their is a saying in my former line if work "rather be judged by 12 then carried by 6". While I don't advocate violence and never want to see someone get hurt, I am going home at the end of my shift to my family. If that means that I need to strike someone so hard that it ends an assault and battery then so be it, I will worry about my job and legal implications after.

Most the time its the simplest (by simple i mean stupid) staff that set those patients off....and most of the time those who set the patient off don't do anything in a code situation.