The medical field, according to OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), is where workers have the most nonfatal occasions of workplace violence – more than employees in any other profession. Most of these incidents arise from patients or family members having drug or substance abuse issues, or mental illness. There’s also been an increase in workplace violence due to covid-19 situations.
To be able to address this escalating violence in the medical field, one nonprofit health care provider has been training Behavioral Health Officers. Begun in 2015, the program is designed to create a group of security officers specialized in training to curtail workplace violence encounters in the nonprofits medical care areas and behavioral health units. All the new Behavioral Health Officers were promoted from within the nonprofits security guard personnel. So, they had great track records of experience in security officer diffusion and de-escalation of situations that were headed toward confrontation. The course established for the specialized officers is extensive, comprehensive with a 32-hour training course that includes role-playing scenarios with the officers playing all the roles. This includes the patient, clinician, responding officer and observing officer.