The NMC Code states that you should take account of your own personal safety as well as those you care for.
As nurses we could find ourselves in a dangerous or potentially compromising situation. It’s important we take steps to keep both ourselves and our patients safe.
There are steps that you can take to reduce the risk of danger and harm when working alone – it doesn’t matter if that is in the community, in accident and emergency or in the hospital.
The Royal College of Nursing provide a quick reference guide on keeping safe when working alone.
Keep your phone nearby
You should always have a way to call for help if you need it. Keeping your mobile phone nearby will allow you to contact fellow colleagues or the emergency services should you need assistance.
Share your location
Make sure you communicate your location to other members of your team. Ensure they know where you’re going, what your going to do and when they should expect to see you again.
Use alarm systems
Your employer has a duty to keep you safe. Lone workers should be issued with an alarm systems or a way to call for help if you need it.
Look at your surroundings
Is there anything around which is a cause for alarm? Is there something that could be used as a weapon, a dangerous animal, somebody being verbally or physically aggressive? Think about how you will get out if things get difficult. Make an excuse to leave early and call for help.
Make an excuse to leave
If you feel in danger withdraw to a place of safety. If you feel the situation escalating, use strategies to remove yourself. For example, “I just have to pop back to the car to get some notes” or “I just have to go to the other room to get some equipment”.
RUN. HIDE. TELL.
London Metropolitan Police advice is to; RUN – to find a safe place, HIDE – somewhere where your attacker can’t get to or find you and TELL – call 999.
Your own safety is paramount. It is vitally important that you do not try to deal with a potential attacker alone – call for help.