A recent New York Times article on the changing nature of health care facility security “highlights the challenge that hospitals face daily both to serve our patients and protect the dedicated men and women who care for them 24/7,” Pam Thompson, chief nursing officer and senior vice president for the AHA and CEO of its American Organization of Nurse Executives subsidiary, writes today in a letter to the editor. “Hospital doors, especially emergency rooms, are open to everyone, and many of society’s ills – domestic abuse, gang violence, family disputes and more – find their way to the hospital doorstep. Hospital patients, their loved ones and members of the community must have a safe environment where caring and healing can occur. And hospital workers need a safe environment while caring for patients. The complex issues of assuring that patients are safe and protecting hospital workers are best addressed on a hospital-by-hospital basis, and specific training and education are essential. But it doesn’t stop there. As a society, we must also do more to better address our country’s growing mental health care challenges. America’s hospitals are already working to do both and welcome the support of the communities and patients we serve.”

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