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Renewed focus on workplace violence prevention includes employee training

Yale New Haven Health is enhancing efforts to promote employee safety by revamping some programs and launching several new initiatives to help employees address and prevent workplace violence. 

Most recently, YNHHS introduced a one-hour employee learning module called Prevention First that is required for all employees. Designed to help staff identify the stages of a crisis, the course also offers verbal intervention strategies, de-escalation tactics, cues for recognizing crisis situations and tips on when to call for support. 

YNHHS implemented the new training in response to concerns expressed on Employee Engagement Surveys, along with an increase in assaults and aggressive behavior across the health system and in healthcare facilities nationwide. 

“Traditionally, hostile behaviors have been more common in certain hospital settings, such as emergency departments or behavioral health units. But there has been a significant increase in aggressive behaviors by patients and guests in other hospital areas in recent years,” said Amy Woznyk, director, Employee Health, Safety and Wellbeing. “Yale New Haven is committed to providing the appropriate education and tools to keep everyone as safe as possible and to minimize the risk of being injured.” 

YNHHS also recruited a workplace violence prevention coordinator, Linda Bergonzi-King, who coordinates efforts to manage assaultive and aggressive behaviors. She has formed committees at the system level and within each delivery network to mitigate risks and dangers to employees. Measures include new processes, enhanced educational materials and response teams. Plus, a new, system-wide peer support network will offer emotional support to affected employees.

To learn more about employee safety programs, visit the My Safety page on The Thrive intranet section (in network only). To get involved in workplace violence prevention activities, email [email protected].