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nurse panic button
Original Post Date: February 7, 2022

It’s no secret that nursing is a difficult job. The demands of patient care are physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting, and critical staffing shortages and lack of resources exacerbate it. What makes it even worse is that these valuable frontline caregivers experience violence in the workplace at an astounding rate. A recent study US study by the National Nurses Union shared that eight in 10 nurses experienced at least one type of workplace violence within the last year, and nearly half of the nurses polled indicated that workplace violence has actually increased in the last year.  Workplace violence against nurses includes being verbally threatened, physically threatened, and physically harmed in any way.

There is a clear gap in resources and tools to protect nurses from workplace violence. Only about 30% of nurses polled indicated that there was security? Staff is available at all times to intervene when violent situations arise, and only 17% reported that their employer provided extra staff to help reduce the risk of violence.

The consequences of unchecked violence in the workplace against nurses are staggering. Aside from immediate physical ramifications, injuries can have long-term physical effects. However, exposure to this trauma can also have a huge negative impact on the mental health of the nurses experiencing and witnessing this trauma. This can, in turn, affect their personal and family lives outside of the workplace, creating a ripple effect.  While this is truly awful for the nurse and care teams, it can also negatively affect patient care, as low morale and increased job stress and burnout make it hard to do their job, and can often lead to nurses quitting or leaving the workforce altogether.

What can healthcare organizations do to help prevent workplace violence and improve the response to events that do happen?
Proper staffing levels, creating and educating all staff on violence prevention plans, and providing nurses with a safe space to voice their concerns and receive help are all key.

But no matter how many preventative measures are put in place, there is always the chance that an incident of violence may still occur. In this case, it is critical to ensure that nurses and care staff are able to request help as quickly as possible to mitigate the situation. One way to do this is by providing nursing staff with the right equipment that can assist in patient care and facilitate support in an emergency.

As such, enterprise mobility devices like the Spectralink Versity Family of enterprise smartphones are a great solution. These lightweight, easy-to-use devices facilitate all critical patient care and administrative nursing workflows and are equipped with built-in safety functions that can be programmed to align with a healthcare institution’s emergency response plan.

Spectralink Solutions

The Versity 97 and Versity 95/96 Series smartphones from Spectralink all feature includes a red “panic” button located at the top of the device.

How to Use the Panic Button to Keep Nurses Safe

When a clinician recognizes a dangerous situation, they can quickly and easily activate the panic button. The red button can be configured through the native SAFE application built into every Spectralink Versity, which requires a long press or two presses to prevent unintentional activation. The confirmed button press immediately alerts configurable groups, emergency personnel, and/or other area staff, mobilizing them to respond to the situation. When a caregiver presses the button, their exact location is included in the outgoing event, enabling staff or security personnel to be notified about the issue and where to go to address it.

The SAFE functionality also allows the panic button to be configured to open the smartphone’s speaker, allowing hands-free communication throughout the emergency.

More Clinical Use Cases for Versity’s SAFE Functionality

Because the panic button on every Versity smartphone is programmable and can integrate with other platforms, there are many workflows and use cases, for example:

  • Call security—When you are in danger or need immediate assistance with a patient, family member, or other person(s) who pose a threat, clinicians can immediately and discretely call for help with your exact location information while keeping their focus on the situation at hand.
  • Activate a subtle help button – In some scenarios, the clinician may not immediately require assistance but would like someone else to listen to what is happening in the room if the situation takes a turn. In this situation, one press could indicate, “Open up the microphone for remote listen-in only mode,” whereas a double press may indicate, “Help, I need backup now!”
  • Call for back-up for patient care – For example, in a Med-Surg unit, a clinician may need help lifting or turning a patient. By configuring the panic button as a “Staff Assist” button, nurses can seamlessly alert another nurse that they need assistance.
  • Call a “code” for an emergency response team – The panic button can also be programmed to call code blue, or any other code, based on either a single- or double-press, which notifies and activates the appropriate emergency response team.

The Versity 97 and 95/96 series smartphones’ SAFE functionality can be a lifeline for caregivers, empowering them to quickly and safely call for backup in dangerous situations. It can also give nurses peace of mind and allow them to focus on their jobs more fully, knowing that help is just a “press” away.

In the fast-paced, critical healthcare industry, taking care of essential healthcare workers should be a top priority. To learn more about how Versity can keep healthcare staff safe and make their work lives easier, complete the contact form, and our team will contact you. To learn more about Spectralink healthcare solutions, visit our website.