NIOSH in Morgantown created a workplace violence prevention course. It helps healthcare professionals deal with everything from being spit at to a serious disaster.
"I was at work as a nurse and was held hostage by a patient."
"I've had to be seen because I've had wrist injuries, shoulder injuries, because I've been attacked, spit on bitten."
Nurses that are featured on the online course provided by NIOSH, recall having shoulder injuries from being attacked and even being held hostage.
Mon General Hospital is also aware of the dangers for its healthcare professionals.
"There's been an increase in violence in communities through out the country and unfortunately it has also hit hospitals," said Daphne Scordato, the Vice President of Patient Care Services at Mon General and a Registered Nurse. "Thankfully other cities and states but we recognize it could happen anywhere."
NIOSH agrees. Which is why employees created the online course to prepare healthcare professionals for an incident. NIOSH has been researching the topic for more than ten years and found some healthcare professionals haven't had proper workplace violence training.
"Healthcare is one of the industries we see a lot of violence," explained Dan Hartley, one of the creators of the online course at NIOSH. "They actually account for about two thirds workplace violence instances that involve injuries requiring days off from work, over all industries in the US. And so with those conversations we decided we need to go ahead and get this training out there."
The course is available on the NIOSH website for free. Some universities have already started using the course to teach students finishing up their nursing programs.
Nurses at Mon General agree that the training is necessary.
"We're charged with providing care regardless of the behavior of individuals and it can be challenging to know how to handle those situations in a way that is professional, and considers the patients needs," Scordato said. "As well as the safety of the health care provider."
Almost 2,700 people have already received continuing education units for completing the course. Visit the NIOSH and CDC website to start the course.