Vanderbilt Hospital Employees Learn Self-Defense - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Vanderbilt Hospital Employees Learn Self-Defense

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by Marcus Washington

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Hospital emergency rooms are seeing more violence towards health care workers from patients and their family members.

Inside a hospital emergency room there is never a dull moment.

"It's already a very stressful environment. Sometimes we can have up to 40 patients in the waiting room," said Vanderbilt University Medical Center admission's nurse Anna Mlodzik.

Many times those patients come in full of extreme emotions because they want help and many times they need it fast.

"A lot of the times I will get the brunt of it," says Mlodzik on the emotional  back lash. "I walk in and, 'I've been waiting for 10 hours. Where is my doctor? I haven't been able to eat.' we also get psychiatric patients."

Right now, health care officials are seeing a rise in violence towards workers in the hospital, many times it is coming from both patients and family members.

"So one of the things we wanted to do is give our employees the tools and the resources and the knowledge on how to de-escalate potentially violent situations and this course does exactly that," said Marsha Price with Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Since April, all employees in the Adult Emergency Department at Vanderbilt Hospital are able to take part in a training program called "Handle with Care."

The four hour course teaches both verbal and physical tactics to defuse a situation.

"Just remain in a calm voice. Keep your posture in a way that is not threatening towards them," said Mlodzik. "Those are two key things they taught us."

"We're basically the first ones they see when they come in. so, whatever aggression they have, we're going to receive it, but at the same time it starts with your mentality of, I am here to help you, not here to hurt," Worker Lisa Moffett added.

The classes are offered twice a week.

The hospital hopes to have all 180 employees in the Adult Emergency Department trained by September with additional classes for new employees.


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