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Workplace Health Saf. 2016 Jun 27. pii: 2165079916653971. [Epub ahead of print]

Security Personnel Practices and Policies in U.S. Hospitals: Findings From a National Survey.

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Duke University School of Nursing
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.


Concerns of violence in hospitals warrant examination of current hospital security practices. Cross-sectional survey data were collected from members of a health care security and safety association to examine the type of personnel serving as security in hospitals, their policies and practices related to training and weapon/restraint tool carrying/use, and the broader context in which security personnel work to maintain staff and patient safety, with an emphasis on workplace violence prevention and mitigation. Data pertaining to 340 hospitals suggest security personnel were typically non-sworn officers directly employed (72%) by hospitals. Available tools included handcuffs (96%), batons (56%), oleoresin capsicum products (e.g., pepper spray; 52%), hand guns (52%), conducted electrical weapons (e.g., TASERsĀ®; 47%), and K9 units (12%). Current workplace violence prevention policy components, as well as recommendations to improve hospital security practices, aligned with Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines. Comprehensive efforts to address the safety and effectiveness of hospital security personnel should consider security personnel's relationships with other hospital work groups and hospitals' focus on patients' safety and satisfaction.


hospital security; patient satisfaction; security-nursing rapport; training; weapons; workplace violence


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