Violence At Work: Westside Health Systems Located in Chicago, Illinois is a private nonprofit health care system called “Westside Health Systems”. The company consisted of a hospital, a nursing home and 5 minor emergency clinics. Maryanne Walker is the Director of Pharmacy Services, and oversees the main pharmacy located in the hospital, a pharmacy in the nursing home and four satellite pharmacies. She directly reports to her supervisor Nancy Smith. Maryanne is one of 5 total supervisors in Pharmacy Services.
Rhonda Carter the inventory supervisor , is the direct supervisor of both employees involved in the allegation : Susan Miller and Brenda Lawson, both pharmacy technicians in the receiving area. The episode claimed that Susan had allegedly assaulted Brenda in the hospital pharmacy, with no witnesses. She had “grabbed her by the shoulders, shoved her against a partition, and perhaps drew her fist back as if to hit her. ” When both Susan and Brenda were interviewed in relation to the incident their stories differed in levels of just how severe the fight and physical aggravations were. (More thoroughly explained in the case study. If you were Maryanne what actions would you take and why? As Maryanne, I would conduct another round of interviews for both parties involved (Susan and Brenda) as well as a with Rhonda to highlight the main causes of such a situation and give us further explanations. The interviews would be recorded, with the consent of the interviewee. Then, I would end with a fourth interview with Susan, Brenda and Rhonda and ask them to clarify any misunderstandings, as well as give them a talk on how their actions were completely unacceptable and would not be tolerated in the future. A written write up would be in need for Brenda.
Rhonda would be put into a “Special Review” period, due to her failure to report back to her supervisors or even deal with arising problems with her employees. In this case, the troublesome employee was Susan, who seemed to get away with leaving early, coming into work on off days, breaking the computerized inventory system with no reprimand, as well as an overall unfriendliness towards other employees. A discussion with Rhonda is necessary to find out exactly the reason why she felt that many of Susan’s past issues were never reported to upper management when her mental health were clearly a risk at he workplace. In fact, Rhonda may be up for termination for a lack of proper supervision and disciplinary action on Susan. In fact, Susan had two events in which she injured herself, which in turn could have been a liability to Westside Health Systems. All of these incidents which come to light much later than they should have are enough to terminate Rhonda for her unsatisfactory job performance. Keeping in mind that this is a private organization and the company is at right for termination without notice.
As for Susan, given that she has clinical depression and is prescribed Prozac, her time around those substances at work may become a hazard for her stability and overall work performance. Therefore, we suggest a “Wellness Program” including psychotherapy and counseling as well as education on overall wellness (eating habits, exercising, healthy living). I would then provide the company’s employees a special training on workplace violence. The goal of this course would be to give employees awareness of violence in the workplace, how to recognize the warning signs, and what actions to take to prevent or minimize violence in the future.
It is also important to define workplace violence in accordance with the pharmaceutical company’s policies: List the types of workplace violence. Identify warning sign levels related to potential workplace violence. List the action steps taken in response to workplace violence. Identify ways to prevent workplace violence. Ways to encourage employees to report incidents in which they feel threatened for any reason by anyone inside or outside the organization. Skills in behaving compassionately and supportive towards employees who report incidents.
Skills in taking disciplinary actions. Basic skills in handling crisis situations. Basic emergency procedures, including who to call and what support resources and services are available. Appropriate screening of pre-employment references. Basic skills in conflict resolution. 2. In light of this incident, should West-side change any of its “standards of behavior policies” or ” Corrective action policies”? Explain. The only changes that I would suggest to West-Side regarding their standards of behavior policies would include:
In any verbal counseling, both the employees direct supervisors should be present along with a member of upper management. This would ensure that no favoritism is being placed in one employee over another. Further, I would ensure that employees sign a statement acknowledging the fact that verbal counseling was undertaken. In written counseling, I again would require that each employee sign a statement that they received said written counseling. I am not sure how well written counseling would be as it does not require personal interaction between the employer and employee.
Include a statement that indicates all parties involved will be required to meet management to discuss the matter. Failure to do so may require said employee to be reprimanded for simply refusing said meeting. The system of correction that West-side has is not a progressive one. I would suggest that it is progressive. If an employee is continuously getting into altercations or causing problems, big or little, each should be taken into account. Question 3: How can westside prevent future incidents of workplace violence?
WestSide can prevent future incidents of workplace violence by sending out a clear statement to each employee on violence at work ( as previously mentioned in question 1) yet also enforce that violence at work is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated. In order to maintain a violence-free environment the first step against it in the workplace would be to install video surveillance using an I. P. System. An I. P. Video Surveillance system has several benefits which could be used in the advantage of companies (like a pharmaceutical one).
It prevents theft, allows for all personnel to be monitored in work areas, and allows the company to clearly record the face of every customer entering the premises. Video recording would be used as proof if the situation required one. It is clear that management at Westside does not have the knowledge to handle workplace violence issues. It would be important for Westside to ensure that management has the tools necessary to handle such situations. Management is essential in any workplace. They provide the standards for employees and are the individuals responsible for ensuring that the workplace is a safe one.
If management is not prepared, it is possible that a workplace altercation can be taken out of context and can cause the workplace to be even more unsafe. To avoid this situation the company could implement a new way to work, using PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT to better increase communication between employees. Moreover workshops could also be use as a way to improve relations and communication. An other important fact to review would be the hiring process. Next time they hire an employee, even a relative of another employee, they will need to perform a thorough background checks.
Incidents like Susan may have been avoided by doing so. A Psychologist could also be helpful during the hiring process or even after if needed, who may conduct psychological tests as a screening process. Westside has a stressful environment due to its link with the health care system and its distribution of drugs. Therefore mistakes should be diminished to a strict minimum. A Psychologist would be able to determine if the workplace is not harmful for the candidate and if working with addictive and mind-altering substances (even though prescribed) such as prozac will or will not be a concern.
Last but not least the jobs and tasks that are assigned to them should be clearly defined to avoid mistakes. As written in the case study Susan is performing her supervisor’s job ( filling a patient’s prescription) which should normally by law be conducted by the licensed pharmacist. Clear rules should be re defined to prevent any situation that could lead to an argument and troublesome outcomes for employees and the company. With all of these proposed solutions, a positive outcome is possible. Both to resolve the issue of violence and to improve the overall image and structure of Westside Health Systems.
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