Bamenda Regional Hospital staff drilled on violence at work places and strategies to minimize or eliminate such practice.
During the usual scientific meetings at the Regional Hospital, the target on the 20th of September was violence or harassment at the workplace. Workplace violence is any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behaviour that occurs at the work site. It ranges from threats and verbal abuse to physical assaults and even homicide. It can affect and involve employees, customers and visitors.
According to the presenter Dr. Mrs Njini Rose, the General Supervisor at the Bamenda Regional Hospital, the idea of doing such presentations was conceived in 2016 when the hospital authorities discovered that acts of violence against staff were escalating. In a bid to empower the staff, the director of the hospital, in consultation with the enlarged administration, decided that such presentations be done to help staff understand what work place violence is, in order to prevent or eliminate it. Early 2017, the first presentation was done and with the ongoing heat in the region, the administration decided that the personnel be reminded on the essentials on workplace violence owing to the fact that in spite of its generality, the resolution is context specific. The meeting was an opportunity to brainstorm, contextualize the presentations and see how violence can be minimized and/or eliminated in the hospital.
When quizzed on the forms of violence that operate within a hospital setting, Dr. Mrs Njini Rose said there exist verbal violence like abuses on staff and 80% comes from clients. Nevertheless, there is co-worker violence, physical violence and emotional violence common among co-workers.
The hospital has a customer service that deals with the external clients being the patients and internal clients being the staff where all reports on violence or harassment are supposed to be taking. On the other hand, the hospital administration and the doctors, have a non- disclosure policy and have always encouraged staff to report cases of violence or harassment against them. The difficulty at times is that victims are afraid In the process of investigating the act of violence their names may be disclosed but the administration has the possibility of solving the problem without necessarily disclosing the identity of either the victim or the perpetrator. If the case reaches a level where legal actions need to be taken, the hospital does not compromise, it follows up, Dr. Mrs Njini Rose revealed.
In her note to the personnel of the Bamenda Regional Hospital she says safety is personal beginning from inward verbal and non-verbal communication, dressing, and comportment at the jobsite. Because the hospital deals with a large number of clients she urged staff to work for their safety by relating properly with one another in order not to provoke violence.
Violence at the workplace is a general vice the world over not just in Africa or Cameroon, or Bamenda, or the Regional Hospital. In most workplaces where risk factors can be identified, the risk of assault can be prevented or minimized if employers take appropriate precautions. One of the best protections employers can offer their workers is to establish a zero-tolerance policy toward workplace violence. This policy should cover all workers, patients, clients, visitors, contractors, and anyone else who may come in contact with company personnel.
The Regional Hospital has established the above approaches to create a positive environment of mutual respect and open communication for all.
Pedmia Shatu Tita