On February 26, 2020 the Deep River and District Hospital (DRDH) and the Deep River Police Department, with help from students from Algonquin College’s Police Foundations Program, carried out a training exercise related to violence in the workplace.
The exercise was intended to practice both staff and police response to a “Code White” situation. A Code White is an emergency procedure that provides an immediate response to assist with a situation when there is violence, or a threat of violence to self or others, where the available resources are not sufficient to manage the situation safely. In the mock exercise, two patients became very verbally aggressive towards nursing staff, who then called the Deep River Police for support.
Studies indicate that nurses are at a higher risk of violence in the workplace than other health care providers and other workers. Sustained exposure to violence in the workplace, including aggression, bullying, verbal and physical abuse, can have serious physical and psychological consequences that affect the ability to provide quality care. In addition, the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario has identified aggression in the workplace as a factor contributing to attrition from the nursing profession.
The Deep River and District Hospital, Four Seasons Lodge, and North Renfrew Family Health Team work to ensure that all staff, patients, residents, volunteers, and visitors have a safe environment. The organization tracks all incidents of workplace violence, including incidents involving patient or resident to staff violence, as well as violence between patients or residents with the goal of decreasing the number of incidents that occur. Decreasing incidents of violence in the workplace has been a priority for the organization in recent years. Over the last year, the organization has provided training and education to staff to build knowledge on how to avoid or minimize incidents of workplace violence. In addition, emergency response procedures, such as Code White, are practiced on a regular basis to foster the response capabilities of the organization.
DRDH would like to extend a special thanks to our partners at the Deep River Police Department. Specifically, the organization would like to thank Constable Barker for coordinating the exercise with staff, and Constable Brela for his response and de-escalation of the violent individuals to ensure safety of our staff and patients. The organization is also grateful to Police Foundations students Tanner Barnes and Peter McDonald for their participation in the exercise, and their realistic portrayal of the violence often experienced in a health care setting.