Nurses who spend time working alone should now use safety alarms or other technology to help protect themselves on the job. The RCN has also released guidance saying that they should be given training in risk assessment and personal safety. The guidance comes as the result of the 2015 survey that was done. The survey found that over half of nurses who worked within the local community had experienced some kind of abuse in the past. 11% of the cases documented reported assault or physical abuse as well. As time goes on, the number of nurses who have to work alone will only increase, and this is prompting new measures to be put into place. Take a look below to learn more.
What Nurses can Expect from An Employer
The RCN have set out what kind of support nurses could expect from their employer, as well as listing various steps to ensure that nurses can take care of their own safety when working. The guidance has flagged a range of lone-working situations that happen to include one-to-one consultations. It can also include having to escort a patient from one end of the hospital to another or collecting equipment from a more isolated part of the facility at night. Nursing staff who happen to work alone for very short periods of time, tend to be vulnerable when it comes to physical and mental abuse. As the care in the community steps up to meet patients’ needs, the number of nurses who work alone will also increase.
Employers and the Current Law
It is the law for employers to take the right measures when trying to protect the safety standards of employees. Nursing staff can also take their own steps to try and reduce the risk that they face. The RCN have warned that training alone is not going to reduce the incidents of violence. This is why employers should put in the work to develop a lone worker policy, while also carrying out risk assessments. It is also imperative that people take steps to try and manage or reduce risks. This could well include providing nurses with a way to raise the alarm and also have regular checks by supervisors.
The general process should involve providing training in various areas. Dynamic risk assessments, personal safety and de-escalation techniques should be provided, as well as showing nurses how they can manage situations when they are using public transport or driving. Employers have to make sure that they have systems in place so that they can then support lone workers after an incident, or even a near miss. Debriefing and investigations should happen on a regular basis, and safety measures also have to be reviewed. Advice on how to liaise with police is also important, to ensure that nurses are never left without the support they need.
Lone Working Procedures
Nurses have to make sure that they are prepared and that they know how to raise the alarm while also educating themselves as much as possible. This is especially when going to a place that is not familiar or seeing a patient that they have not met before. When nurses are working alone, they should do what they can to follow the lone working procedure of an employer while also carrying out basic checks to ensure that they have signal, if the alarm system is based on a mobile system. Checking to see that the alarm batteries haven’t run out is also essential. In 2015, when the initial survey was carried out, it indicated that over 50% of staff felt somewhat vulnerable at work and that 10% felt vulnerable on a regular basis. 22% said that their managers were aware of where they were going, or where they were headed when alone within the community.
Vestige is Protecting Nurses Across the Country
Vestige is working to protect nurses across the country to make sure that they are safe while on the job with their employee safety device. Employees are never alone thanks to this system as it is designed to be accessible at all times. PERSA is wearable and it also contains a tracker, that can be used with a software platform. This means that you can make sure that remote workers are always safe, 24 hours a day. Employees can clock in and out, not to mention that you can also detail any off-site locations that may be visited. This is one solution that can be used to combat the nursing safety crisis that is happening right now.