Security in Healthcare Environments


    How do we protect ourselves in an 'open' environment where EVERYONE is welcome? Any thoughts?
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    About BSNbeDONE, ASN, BSN, LPN, RN

    Joined: Jan '13; Posts: 2,361; Likes: 4,817
    Registered Nurse; from US
    Specialty: 31 year(s) of experience in Med/Surg, LTACH, LTC, Home Health


  3. by   nurseprnRN
    Say home, lock the door, never come out. That's your only choice for 100% safety...and maybe not even then.

    The grocery store, the bus stop, the playground, the house of worship, the hospital, the kindergarten, City Hall, an insurance office, and yes, the hospital ... everywhere is open. The way you can "protect yourself" is being aware of your environment and who's in it, but otherwise, there are no guarantees of "protection" anywhere in normal life.
  4. by   BSNbeDONE
    Our facility doesn't allow weapons on the property. Ironically, there is nothing done to check for violators. After an assault, it's a little too late to enforce the policy. If we (team members) get caught with a weapon, we're terminated...of course. I just think health care facilities should do more than post 'no weapons allowed' signs. I work at a large facility with 5 floors up and several units on each floor. However, we can literally count the number of security officers on duty using one hand. I've heard hospital shootings being referred to as an isolated event, but so was the school shooting at Columbine......until.....

    Just pondering.....
  5. by   Mr. Murse
    I agree with the first response. In my opinion, this society has gotten into a bad habit of overkill, knee-jerk reactions to traumatic, scary situations. Yes, it's a possibility that someone may come to our facility with a weapon and the intent to harm people, but frankly, that's always been a possibility and it's always happened from time to time whether you hear about it or not. It's also possible that you may accidentally cut the wrong person off on the road today and be shot, or that you may walk in on a robbery at your bank, and the list of "possible dangers" goes on and on and on. We can't spend our time and resources trying to rid our environment of all possible dangers, it only creates a paranoid and psychologically enslaved society. Just because this lunatic went to his wife's work and shot her doesn't mean we need searches and metal detectors at all hospital entrances. The best approach is to rationally assess the risk factors and prepare accordingly. For example, some inner city hospital that sees a lot of patients come in related to violence may need higher security than other facilities with lower risks. Even so, there is no way to completely prevent crazy people from being crazy and affecting innocent people in the process. Rational preparation is the only thing to do.
  6. by   toomuchbaloney
    I could get killed by a bear on my way to the garage too.
    Or maybe that road rage lady will shoot me next time rather than just running me off the road.
  7. by   ~PedsRN~
    We have training on how to deescalate scary situations, and I for one will not hesitate to call security ASAP if I feel like there is trouble brewing on my floor. We are also locked units (since we are a Children's hospital) and people do have to badge in/badge out with a badge attained from guest services downstairs. Of course, the doors open if you push on them for five seconds (fire safety and all that jazz) so it's not a fool proof method, but it does help weed out who belongs and who does not belong. Doors on the stair well are locked and only accessible by employee badges.

    Scary that we now have a code for overhead announcement for active shooter on the premises, and what we are to do in that situation.
  8. by   xoemmylouox
    I don't there is a way to prevent these incidents, but we can find ways to deal with these situations. Your facilty can come up with a plan. I think it's smart to prepare in case of this sort of event.
  9. by   laKrugRN
    A lot of people wonder why I loved correction and psychiatric nursing so much. They ask "don't you feel in danger?" "doesn't it scare you?" Actually, I feel safer there. At least I am prepared there. I have my guard up and my wits about me. There are CO's to protect me. Pepper spray is on me. At a hospital, someone could go nuts and start shooting the place up and I'd honestly never expect it or see it coming. This is just how I see it.

    You take risks wherever you work. It's unavoidable. Don't obsess over what could go wrong, but be prepared should the event arise. Pray that it never does!
  10. by   BSNbeDONE
    I can't help but to wonder about the what-ifs sometimes. Had that woman worked at my facility, then her husband would have known that she was completely defenseless and wide-open to whatever. We cannot even have weapons in our locked vehicles. Again, those vehicles are not searched without cause. But I personally tire of hearing the ever-so-popular "we're in the process of reviewing our policies to see how we can prevent this from happening in the future" AFTER the fact.

    I don't think it's paranoia to have a plan before it's needed. I guess this kinda hits home for me because I was just on the other side of the wall when an ICU patient fired a gun, blowing out the window and nearly hitting a physician and a doctor. The police were called and the hospital was placed on lockdown. We even made the news. But not one thing was done! The patient was clearly a psych case, yet remained in the ICU for only 24 hours after that. They (law enforcement and hospital admin) felt that the nurses could handle it. They placed the patient on 1:1 supervision by sitters and moved him/her to the floor. Yet they kept sending the patient real silverware, family members kept bringing in scissors, letter openers, anything that could be used as a weapon. The day of discharge/transfer (a whole 2 weeks later), a knife was found in the bed underneath the patient. Sitters are not trained for these types of patients. For whatever reason, restraints were decided against. I think the reasoning was something along the lines of causing increased emotional distress. Wow!

    Anyway, I guess it takes a personal involvement of some sort to move some people to action...otherwise, we don't worry about what has not yet happened to us...