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21 Oct 2016

Keep safe when working alone

Industry News

 

In 2015 the RCN surveyed its members and found that almost half of community-based nursing staff had experienced abuse in the last two years. In more than 11% of cases physical abuse or assault was present.

As a result the RCN has published a new guidance document, outlining a range of lone-working situations such as collecting equipment from an isolated part of a hospital at night with few staff around or escorting patients to different areas of a hospital.

Recent analysis shows that lone workers have a 9% higher risk of sustaining injury from a physical assault.

The new guidance covers important issues such as employer’s responsibility, incident prevention, and means of raising an alarm, training and support.

Kim Sunley, RCN Senior Employment Relations Advisor explained:

Nursing staff who work alone for long, or even short, periods of time are more vulnerable to physical and verbal abuse

“As more care is provided in the community, the number of nursing staff working alone will inevitably increase,”

“Employers are bound by law to take appropriate measures to protect the safety of their employees, and nursing staff can also take practical steps to reduce risk”

The report also calls for employers to have systems in place to support lone-workers following and incident or near miss. This can take place by way of a debriefing, investigating the incident, reviewing safety measures and advice on accessing counselling and liaising with the police.

As there is an increasing need for our agency nurses working for the NHS to spend more time in the community and in non-ward situations, this is a welcome guide as safety for our workers must remain our top priority.

Read the full ‘Personal safety when working alone: guidance for members working in health and social care’ publication here.

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