November 15, 2023 by
Lucy Gardner Carson
UVMMC ER Nurse Karah Newman had her nose broken at the hands of a patient last year. (Photo: Daria Bishop)
(November 15, 2023) The University of Vermont Health Network’s communications department is spearheading a public awareness campaign to address an alarming escalation in workplace violence aimed at health care providers on the front lines, Seven Days reports.
Emergency department workers began raising alarms during the pandemic about the dangers they face. The UVM Medical Center responded by installing a metal detector—the hospital has confiscated nine guns and nearly 1,500 knives so far this year—and beefing up the presence of security guards. It also lobbied lawmakers for heightened legal protections.
Now, hospital officials are embarking on a public awareness campaign about the unacceptable perils of emergency care. Last month, a video produced by the UVM Health Network featuring testimony by its workers was featured on the New York Times website as part of an op-ed. The hospital followed up with a print and online campaign in local media calling for an end to the “silence on health care violence.” Overnight, Vermont’s only level-one trauma center became the face of a nationwide problem.
The video, produced by UVMHN communications specialists Ryan Mercer and Roland Kielman, has been played 1.5 million times on the New York Times website, and another 500,000 times on the hospital’s Instagram account.
The overall message of the campaign is simple: Hospitals have a big role to play in keeping people safe, but, just like with COVID, the community has a role, too.
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at Seven Days