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Leveraging Unconditional Positive Regard to minimize violence in the healthcare workplace

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As published by Patient Safety & Quality Healthcare, September 4, 2019

 

There are multiple safety concerns in society today and one unfortunate headline is the frequency of violence in healthcare settings. If you are a healthcare provider, it is safe to say that you have been, or will be exposed to violence in the workplace. It may be from a coworker (lateral violence), patient, or a family member.

 

Healthcare institutions often respond to situations of violence by implementing new policies and rules and most require some type of de-escalation training for their staff. A less frequently discussed method of reducing episodes of violence in high stress situations is Unconditional Positive Regard, a concept developed by psychologist Carl Rogers. I have found this approach to be very successful and encourage you to try it yourself.

Approaching situations in a collaborative manner with unconditional positive regard takes the caregiver out of a role of authority and demonstrates a collective relationship with the patient."

Will Stewart, MSN, RN, CEN, EMT-LP, NE-BC

Consulting Principal

 

Unconditional positive regard is a learned methodology of increased acceptance and respect for all patients. It requires you to more fully and genuinely respect the person (patient) as a human being with the right to choose how to respond to their situation. It necessitates a non-judgmental approach so that no matter how dangerous or dysfunctional the patient may seem, you accept that they are doing their best. This is a difficult mindset to achieve and until it is tested and successful, often difficult to adopt.

 

Let’s turn to a common example in emergency departments (ED). A patient is brought in by law enforcement and is resistant to care. A urine sample for a drug screen is needed prior to completing the evaluation but when approached, the patient says “Don’t touch me, I won’t give you one”.  Often, the response is “You will do this or I will make you” or a similar coercive reply which further disempowers the patient ...

 

Read the full article as published by Patient Safety & Quality Healthcare at Leveraging Unconditional Positive Regard to Minimize Violence in the Healthcare Workplace

About the author

Will Stewart

Will Stewart, MSN, RN, CEN, EMT-LP, NE-BC

Consulting Principal

Will Stewart has decades of experience helping emergency departments increase efficiency and throughput capacity and boost patient and staff satisfaction, while lowering costs. He has assisted health care providers to reduce ‘left without being seen’ rates by as much as 80% and raise charge capture rates. Results have been realized by leveraging performance improvement best practices while providing focus on safe care for both patients and staff. Will brings a keen awareness to organizational and unit culture which is important when implementing sustainable change. With a focus on process and culture, Will excels at mentoring new leaders.