The Role of Institution-Based Peer Support for Health Care Workers Emotionally Affected by Workplace Violence

Isolde M. Busch, Susan D. Scott, Cheryl Connors, Angela R. Story, Bijay Acharya, Albert W. Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Academic health centers with peer support programs have identified a significant increase in requests linked to workplace violence (WPV) exposure. However, no known research has focused on supportive interventions for health care workers exposed to WPV. This study aimed to describe the expansion of two long-standing programs—University of Missouri Health Care's (MU Health Care) forYOU Team, The Johns Hopkins Hospital's (JHH) RISE (Resilence in Stressful Events) team—to WPV support, retrospectively summarize the related data, and share generalizable lessons. Methods: A retrospective extraction and summary of the forYOU and RISE databases and the MU Health Care and JHH databases was performed tracking hospitalwide data on WPV. Two cases describe the experience of WPV victims. Results: Between 2009 and 2019, forYOU documented 834 peer support interventions, 75 (9.0%) related to WPV (57 one-on-one encounters, 18 group support encounters). In 2018–2019 the forYOU Team experienced an increase in WPV encounters, with 43 of the team's activations (20%) related to WPV. Between 2011 and 2019, RISE recorded 367 peer support interventions, 80 (21.8%) of which were WPV–related (61 group support encounters, 19 one-on-one encounters). Forty-eight (60.0%) of these 80 encounters occurred in 2018–2019 alone, marking an increase in WPV encounters. Nurses were the most frequent callers of both programs. Conclusion: This study indicates the growing need for health care workers’ support in the aftermath of WPV exposure in today's health care environment. Health care institutions should take a holistic approach to WPV, including timely access to interventional peer support programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)146-156
Number of pages11
JournalJoint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Leadership and Management


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