Position Statement and Philosophy

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Disruptive Conduct and Workplace Violence Prevention

The School of Nursing is a community of staff, faculty and students that is committed to a respectful, safe and protected environment, founded in civility and free from violence, in which all can work and learn. Acknowledging that workplace violence falls on a continuum from civility through physical violence, the School of Nursing requires that all members of our community value and respect each other. As a community, the School will make every effort to discourage incivility and protect its individual members from all forms of unacceptable interpersonal aggression including, but not limited to, verbal, written, physical, or any other forms. All members of the School of Nursing will strive to maintain an environment that is free from violence, threats of violence, harassment, intimidation, and other disruptive behavior. Additionally, as part of a larger university campus, the open nature of the building presents many challenges to maintaining a safe environment. Furthermore, the School of Nursing often has faculty, staff, and students who are working and studying beyond the normal operating hours. Members of the School of Nursing community will not tolerate inappropriate interactions from each other or from outside persons. All incidents will be taken seriously and will be dealt with promptly and appropriately. The School of Nursing will provide support and resources to all to ensure that this safe and protected environment happens.

All who participate in or engage with this community will abide by these guiding principles:

  1. We value differences among individuals and, in that spirit, require that all treat each other with respect. Interactions in the School of Nursing are expected to be courteous, respectful, and professional.
  2. Individuals are responsible for their own behavior and will be held accountable for that behavior.
  3. Inappropriate and unacceptable behavior may be a warning sign of impending hostility or violence and will be reported and dealt with in accordance with the policies outlined below.
  4. When inappropriate behavior occurs, members of the School of Nursing community are empowered and expected to deal with the situation according to established guidelines.
  5. Individuals are expected to keep their own personal safety foremost in their plans and actions and to support others in doing the same.
  6. Unacceptable behavior will be dealt with so that the message of zero tolerance is consistent and clear.
  7. The School of Nursing will inform and train all members of the School on the University policy and how to carry out their role in maintaining a safe environment.

When inappropriate behavior occurs, the School of Nursing will:

  • Respond promptly to immediate interpersonal dangers to staff, faculty and students in the school in accordance with established procedures.
  • Facilitate the investigation of threats and other reported incidents, and file necessary reports per University policy with the Employee Services Office of the Human Resources Department.
  • Respond to each report objectively, seriously address any allegations, even those that may appear frivolous, thus taking threats and threatening behavior seriously and ensuring that SON members feel safe in sharing their concerns.
  • Take disciplinary actions under the University’s disciplinary policy when warranted.
  • Support victims and affected workers after an incident.

Definitions

Definitions of key terms used in this policy are as follows:

Inappropriate and prohibited behavior is behavior that can serve as a warning sign of potential hostility or violence. Examples of these kinds of behaviors of interpersonal aggression include but are not limited to:

  1. unwelcome name-calling
  2. rude* or uncivil (e.g, slamming doors in angry response, making disparaging comments about another worker, purposefully blocking someone’s view or path, harshly criticizing a subordinate in public, vulgar or obscene words or actions, either written or verbal, including email, voice messages, and graffiti.
  3. acts of abuse (e.g. verbal statements, including tone of voice, or physical act which may be construed as a derogatory, intimidating, bullying or psychologically or emotionally disturbing (from Canadian teachers assoc)
  4. intimidation through direct or veiled verbal threats
  5. throwing objects regardless of size or type or whether a person is the target of a thrown object
  6. physically touching another employee in an intimidating, malicious or sexually harassing manner
  7. physically intimidating others including such acts as obscene gestures, fist-shaking, or “getting in your face” types of gestures
  8. stalking, either in Carrington Hall or off campus.

Threat: the expression of intent to cause physical or mental harm. A threat is conveyed regardless of whether the individual communicating the threat has the present ability to carry it out and without regard to whether the expression of threat is contingent, conditional, or placed in the future.

Physical attack: unwanted or hostile contact such as hitting, fighting, pushing, shoving, or throwing objects.

Property damage is intentional damage to property owned by the state, employees, students, or visitors.

Each member of the School of Nursing community is responsible for upholding the values and actions embodied in this policy. The School of Nursing Dean’s office is responsible for oversight of these principles and key aspects of the policy.

All School of Nursing students, staff and faculty members are responsible for:

  • Completing required training sessions,

Maintaining basic competency in general knowledge and skills related to workplace safety practices and violence prevention principles and strategies

The experience of interpersonal hostility and violence can be extremely upsetting. Such incidents should not be experienced in isolation. Persons with these experiences are encouraged to seek support from individuals within the School of Nursing such as a direct supervisor or Human Resource Manager, who will provide active listening, advice, coaching as the situation dictates.

Reporting Procedure:

Any situation that exemplifies inappropriate and prohibited behavior must be reported on a formal basis by the individual speaking with their direct supervisor or the Assistant Dean of Student Faculty Services and/or the Employee Services Department in the Office of Human Resources (962-1483).

All reports shall be made in good faith, and detail the incident thoroughly and accurately. In turn, the person making the report shall be assured of a confidential process, with information released only on a “need-to-know” basis, and that no act of retaliation or discrimination shall result from reporting an occurrence

The University’s Workplace Violence Reporting Form must be completed and forwarded to appropriate parties as specified. Information related to the investigation and actions taken are promptly forwarded per University policy. All members of the School of Nursing community are expected to report all threatening situations, physical attacks, and property damage to University Police.

The Workplace Violence Prevention Committee chaired by the Director of Administrative Services, or designee will be appointed by the Dean’s Cabinet to review and trend data on workplace concerns reported on a quarterly basis. Each reported allegation shall be thoroughly investigated by the direct supervisor in conjunction with the Assistant Dean, Student and Faculty Services, and involve all appropriate parties in the process. This review includes, but is not be limited to, an evaluation of all aspects of the alleged incident to ascertain how such occurrences may be prevented, how well faculty/staff/students managed the occurrence, effectiveness of the interventions utilized, and whether modifications to the School policy, security system, training program, or intervention plan are warranted.

Training Program:

Under the tutelage of the Workplace Violence Prevention Committee (WPVPC), a workplace safety training program specific to the School of Nursing will be developed. This program will be presented by a combination of local law enforcement specialists, WPVPC members, and additional content experts from the local community. The training program will be differentiated into levels and provided at the time of policy implementation, and at least annually thereafter. All current faculty and staff shall complete the basic course, and all those subsequently hired will complete as part of orientation; incoming students shall do so at the time of academic program matriculation. A suggested outline for the training program is presented as an addendum to this document.

A “reference library” of booklets, audio and videotapes, and supportive journal articles will be compiled and placed in key offices throughout the School for access by faculty, staff and students.

Evaluation

Under the auspices of the Office of Student and Faculty Services, the efficacy of the School of Nursing’s Workplace Safety Program will be assessed at the conclusion of each training session and in an ongoing manner throughout the academic year. Periodic assessments will be conducted to ascertain whether the School community considers the SON a safe environment in which to work and learn, which is the ultimate goal of the training program and awareness education.