Survey: Specialized Training, Respect For Culture Key Factors In Healthcare Security Personnel Selection

The unique circumstances and institutional cultural issues found in healthcare facilities play a major role in decisions regarding security staffing, according to a recent survey of hospital executives conducted by AlliedBarton Security Services.

While quality of service, professionalism and cost were cited as important factors in staffing decisions, respondents overwhelmingly agreed that security personnel must understand the cultural sensitivities and security challenges specific to a hospital setting.

“Without exception, leaders told us that culture is king when it comes to staffing the hospital security function,” said Ken Bukowski, vice president of AlliedBarton’s healthcare division. “Security personnel not only must respect the hospital’s mission and values but also understand the delicate balance between having a ‘servant’s heart’ when interacting with patients and visitors and being able to quickly and effectively secure the hospital in the event of disruption or violence.”

The survey, which included in-depth interviews with senior level administrators at 22 organizations representing 190 acute care and specialty hospitals across the country, also underscored the importance of specialized training. In addition to understanding HIPAA and other healthcare regulations, administrators believe security personnel should receive training to de-escalate common hospital incidents and protect vulnerable populations including infants and behavioral health patients.

Approximately half of all respondents manage their security force as an internal department while the remainder outsource all or part of the function. The most common areas of concern include emergency department violence, domestic violence and vehicle break-ins or auto theft in parking areas.

“From the constant flow of patients and visitors to hectic emergency departments and an increase in new regulations, today’s hospitals face more challenges than ever before,” Bukowski said. “These findings affirm our long-held belief that security concerns for healthcare institutions are unlike any other market segment we serve. Our specialized healthcare offering including market-specific training helps prepare our security officers and managers for this unique environment.”

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