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LVMC Provides Self-Defense Training for Staff

  • Category: Press Release
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Nora Wallace
LVMC Provides Self-Defense Training for Staff

During a class Friday morning, about 25 employees of Lompoc Valley Medical Center were trained with self-defense techniques to counter the growing instances of violence against healthcare workers.

The class, taught by instructors with Lompoc’s Kenpo Karate, included:

  • Prevention techniques to avoid physical altercations
  • Posturing and verbal communication skills
  • Situational awareness training
  • Basic self-defense techniques
  • Recovery from a grounded position

The healthcare field in particular has experienced an increase in workplace violence incidents since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that healthcare workers comprised more than three-quarters of all workplace violence reported nationwide and are four times more likely to suffer a serious injury from workplace violence than workers in any other workplace setting.

Last year, Congress passed the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act.

“Our staff are definitely feeling it,” explained Chief Operations Officer/Chief Nursing Officer Yvette Cope, MSN. “This is not a class to teach force-on-force, but self-defense.”

Registered Nurse Connie Carachure said she was “very grateful” the hospital provided the class.

She said she took a self-defense class in college, which she found beneficial. She was pleased to take Friday’s class as well.

“Unfortunately, I have been in a position where a patient was attacking me, so I never want to go through that again not knowing,” Connie explained. “This provided tools we could easily remember by practicing and just to get ourselves out of that situation to a safer area.”

Healthcare staff at LVMC have already been offered emergency whistles and emergency alarms, with a particular focus for nurses in the Emergency Department, Cope said.

LVMC Purchasing Coordinator Katie Pendleton said she appreciated learning the self-defense “anchor move” which would allow her to escape if someone came from behind and choked her.

“They definitely did a great job of making it fun for us, so we would remember how to do it. Because when it’s too serious, we can all tend to panic. Making it more fun will let it stick in our minds a lot more.”

Violence largely emerges in a healthcare setting when patients are suffering from mental health issues; drug addiction; frustration, anger or confusion about their medical condition or care; dementia – and from visitors who are upset about the decline or demise of hospitalized loved ones. Cope said she hopes to offer the training district-wide in the future.

LVMC already employs the use of a code system to help in instances of aggressive patients or visitors. If needed, a de-escalation team of employees is called to the disturbance to quell the actions of an aggressive patient or visitor.

LVMC also employs roving round-the-clock security personnel.

Coupled with the self-defense training, the LVMC Administrative team is crafting a new hospital policy related to the case-specific searching of patient belongings.