Working together for safety of nurses and midwives

Monday, 9 September 2019

Senior nurses and midwives from across SA Health are prioritising safety in the workplace and today are coming together to proactively encourage a culture that does not tolerate physical or verbal violence.

Chief Nurse and Midwifery Officer, Jennifer Hurley, said a dedicated high-level steering group has been established and will meet for the first time this week with the main focus to improve and strengthen safety of the entire workforce.

“Our number one priority is to provide a safe environment for our staff, patients and their families, and any act of violence or aggression is inexcusable and will not be tolerated,” Ms Hurley said.

“Our hard-working nurses and midwives do an outstanding job caring for all patients, sometimes under difficult circumstances. As they provide care to others, we are determined to ensure they do not have to fear for their own safety.

“We are committed to providing high quality nursing and midwifery care to our patients and a raft of tailored safety measures will continue to be implemented across individual hospitals and health services across the State.

“In conjunction, SA Health has formed a new, statewide steering group to focus on improving the safety of our entire workforce, with senior nurses and midwives representatives from across our hospitals.

“The steering group will build on the good work that has already been done across the system, address gaps, and identify opportunities and innovative approaches to ensure ongoing improvements and safe work environments for all.

“It will comprise of senior leadership representatives from nursing and midwifery, medicine, allied health, mental health, as well as South Australian Ambulance Service (SAAS) and South Australia Police (SAPOL).”

The steering group will review the current SA Health challenging behaviours strategy to ensure materials are clear, concise, targeted and support best practice, as well as developing awareness and education campaigns to address specific behaviours.

Following recent violent incidents, immediate steps were taken at public hospitals such as increased onsite security, as well as staff information sessions on personal and community safety and situational awareness, led by SAPOL.

Lighting, monitoring and functionality of CCTV, security patrols and duress alarm use has also been reviewed across hospitals.

Ms Hurley said different hospitals have implemented specific security measures tailored to the local environment.

“Some hospitals are working to improve escalation processes and responses, while additional portable and hardwired duress alarms have been made available in various locations,” she said.

“Others are engaging external providers to deliver practical training for staff working in emergency departments, while Management of Actual or Potential Aggression (MAPA) training is also being rolled out to appropriate staff in metropolitan and regional areas.

“Additional training in aggression, violence, and de-escalation techniques already undertaken by some staff has been well received who report feeling better prepared to deal with these situations.

“Nurses and midwives are one of the most trusted and respected professions in the world, we are compassionate and care for our patients and their families, every hour of every day.

“We want to make sure our nurses and midwives are cared for too. We will continue to work with our nurses and midwives to ensure they feel safe within the areas in which they work every single day.”

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