The '6th vital sign' healthcare needs to adopt, according to Atrium behavioral exec

Workplace violence is a widely-discussed trend in healthcare today, and addressing it could involve adding a metric to patient medical records.

Jennifer Ziccardi Colson, RN, BSN, Charlotte, N.C.-based Atrium Health's chief nurse executive and vice president for the behavioral health service line, spoke with Becker's about what she believes should be healthcare's sixth vital sign.

Editor's note: Responses were lightly edited for clarity and length.

Jennifer Ziccardi Colson: With workplace violence on the rise and opportunities for our teammates to work outside of healthcare without the risk of violence, we must be smarter at retention while making the workplace the best place to be employed. Hospital workers should be able to practice their skills in an environment where their safety is top priority. 

Identifying patients who pose a risk to teammates is one of the key factors in decreasing the potential for violence. Unfortunately, because violence is not predictable, universal screening should be a part of every patient's medical record. Suicide screening is considered our fifth vital sign. Let us work together to make the potential for violence our sixth.

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