HOW I FOUND MY RHYTHM WHEN THE MUSIC STOPPED

At a time in everyone’s life, we come to find ourselves in a situation where the music stops, and we must go on.  The unfortunate truth about life is that the unexpected will happen. Some of us learn from it, some of us change because of it and some of us find our life’s calling because of it. The latter was the case for me.  After our dad picked us up from middle school, we spent that afternoon like we had every afternoon that month. We went to the oncology unit at the hospital, where my brother was admitted.

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THE MAN IN A BLUE SARONG

I remember him. I remember the man in the dark blue sarong the same way I remember the lines on back of my own hand. He was hunched over next to a column on a dirty platform at a railway station in Calcutta, India in the middle of the harsh summer sun. His hands were withered, his fingers and toes looked like tiny nubs, and he was completely malnourished and alone. He had opaque blue eyes, as if fog had taken place of his irises and pupils.

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PATIENT “OWNERSHIP”

I studied insects in college; my favorite insects were the bees (I found them diligent and so helpful to humankind).  One of my favorite classes was about medical diseases caused by insects. My professors noticed my interest in the medical side of things and connected me with a professor who did clinical research. Our work focused on a clinical trial for children with intractable epilepsy and exposed me early on to patient care and patients.

….FULL ARTICLE

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So many of the recent events that have occurred have had the element of individuals who want their story recorded, broadcast, publicized, and shared around the world. This is a very scary and disturbing trend.


Interestingly enough, many experts and professionals are also linking the use of anti-depressive drugs to increased rates of workplace violence. Fueling the perception that America is an overmedicated society, a new Mayo Clinic study finds that nearly 70 percent of Americans are on at least one prescription drug, and more than half take two. Researchers found that the “second most common prescription was for antidepressants – which suggests that mental health is a huge issue and is something we should focus on. The third most common drugs were opioids, which is a bit concerning considering their addicting nature” according to Rick Nauert, PhD, Psych Central.


In a paper titled “Antidepressants and Violence: Problems at the Interface of Medicine and Law,” David Healy, a British professor of psychiatry at Cardiff University and an authority on side effects of psychiatric drugs, writes: “Legal systems are likely to continue to be faced with cases of violence associated with the use of psychotropic drugs, and it may fall to the courts to demand access to currently unavailable data. The problem is international and calls for an international response.”


UC Haas School of Business professor Jo-Ellen Pozner says one possible key to addressing workplace violence is to find ways to address employees’ mental health and wellness. “It seems clear that there was an emotional, mental health issue going on here (Roanoke shootings) and that’s I think the key to figuring out how to deal with these things in the workplace,” Pozner said, “I think there’s a public policy question there that we need to address in a larger level, that’s less about workplace violence and more about the violence in our society today.”


Obviously, this issue is a complicated issue.


So What Can, and Should, An Employer Do?

Employers have a legal and ethical obligation to provide employees with an environment free from threats and violence.


Beginning this process before you even hire someone is the first step in prevention and that starts with your recruiting and hiring process. Organizations should have a comprehensive hiring system and strategy, and be clear regarding the knowledge, skills, abilities, and attitudes that are required for each position within the organization.


Prospective employees should be screened and evaluated extremely carefully to make sure there is a close match. Conducting background checks prior to hire and then developing clear, enforceable policies for your organization are also vitally important. Some of the policies you should have in your handbook to address this issue include Harassment, Anti-bullying, Open Door, Dispute Resolution, Progressive Discipline and Electronic and Social Media.


In addition, employers should adopt and practice fair and consistent disciplinary procedures, foster a climate of trust and respect in the workplace, and have appropriate and safe reporting mechanisms in place.


Best practices for employers also include providing regular training in the areas of Harassment, Bullying and Workplace Violence for new and current employees as well as managers and supervisors. The training for employees helps them to identify the early stages of a threat or potential violence and coaches them on how to report their concerns. Training for your managers will assist them with recognizing and being more aware of possible threats, being familiar with internal policies and understanding the law and OSHA guidelines. In addition, employers should remember that two other key components to all of this is to take immediate action when a concern is reported and having an Employee Support System in place (EAP / Mental Health Services through your insurance plan.)


Many companies now are taking additional steps to ensure that their buildings and offices have adequate building security, and that employees have proper employee identification.


While some people may exhibit what is deemed as bizarre or eccentric behavior, it might not be anything, according to Dr. Andrew Franklin, Norfolk State University Assistant Professor of Psychology. While all employers and employees need to be diligent and observant, it is important that we do not fall into a state where we are constantly paranoid or suspicious … just cautious.

In August 2015 in Roanoke, VA, 2 television station employees were gunned down live on the air. The attention of employers and employees nationwide focused once again on violence, and more specifically, workplace related violence.


Since the 1980s, violence has been recognized as a leading cause of occupational mortality and morbidity.  According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, an estimated 1.7 million workers are injured each year during workplace assaults and hundreds are fatally wounded. In addition, violent workplace incidents account for 18% of all violent crime in the United States.


Nearly 2 million American workers report having been victims of workplace violence each year and unfortunately, many more cases than that go unreported according to the United States Department of Labor website.


The National Institute for Prevention of Workplace Violence, Inc. has released its 2013 Workplace Violence Fact Sheet, a repository of information, statistics and charts on workplace violence presented to give Human Resources, Threat Management, Security, Risk Management and Operational Managers current information on workplace violence. Data for the report was provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Justice, National Institute of Safety and Health (NIOSH), NCCI Research and more.   

BY BEVERLY CLEMONS

Key Findings:



While workplace homicides are not common, an analysis by The Washington Post shows the share of workplace homicides appears to be increasing as is the desire by the perpetrators to make a statement, or be famous.

BEVERLY CLEMONS

Beverly Clemons is president of CMI Consulting, based in Lexington, Kentucky, a KGA/KACS partner company that provides organizations with human resource solutions. She can be reached at beverly@cmiconsulting.com.

Learn more by visiting www.cmiconsulting.com.