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The Rise of Healthcare Big Business: Is Failing to Deliver the Advertised Product Fueling the Flames of Workplace Violence?

In her insightful article, "The Rise of Healthcare Big Business: Is Failing to Deliver the Advertised Product Fueling the Flames of Workplace Violence?", Courtney Hickey delves into the growing tension between the glossy facade of healthcare marketing and the harsh realities faced by frontline providers.

Publication: Colorado Nurse, 2024, Vol 124, Issue 2, p15

Hickey’s work illuminates the troubling disconnect between the promises made by healthcare conglomerates and the day-to-day experiences of those who deliver patient care, suggesting that this disparity may be contributing to an increase in workplace violence.

The Rise of Healthcare Big Business: Is Failing to Deliver the Advertised Product Fueling the Flames of Workplace Violence?
The Rise of Healthcare Big Business: Is Failing to Deliver the Advertised Product Fueling the Flames of Workplace Violence?

The Dichotomy Between Marketing and Reality

Healthcare marketing often portrays an idealized vision of patient care—one of seamless service, state-of-the-art facilities, and dedicated healthcare professionals. However, Hickey points out that this polished image frequently masks the underlying issues within the healthcare system.

Frontline workers, who are the backbone of patient care, often face understaffing, inadequate resources, and immense pressure to meet the high expectations set by marketing campaigns. This gap between promise and reality can lead to frustration among both patients and providers, setting the stage for conflict.

The Impact of Healthcare Consumerism

Hickey also explores the rise of healthcare consumerism, where patients increasingly view themselves as consumers who demand high-quality service. This consumerist mindset, fueled by aggressive marketing, can lead to unrealistic patient expectations. When the actual care does not meet these expectations, the resulting dissatisfaction can manifest as verbal or even physical aggression towards healthcare workers.

Profit-Driven Interests vs. Patient Care

The article highlights a fundamental issue in modern healthcare: the clash between profit-driven interests and the ethos of patient care. Large healthcare organizations often prioritize financial performance, sometimes at the expense of adequate staffing and support for their workers.

This profit-centric approach can erode the quality of care, leaving frontline workers to manage the fallout. Hickey argues that this not only affects the morale and safety of healthcare providers but also compromises patient outcomes.

The Need for Advocacy and Change

Hickey underscores the importance of frontline workers advocating for systemic change. Healthcare professionals, who witness the direct impact of current policies and practices, are in a unique position to push for improvements. This advocacy is crucial for creating a safer and more supportive work environment, which in turn can lead to better patient care.

Addressing Workplace Violence

To mitigate the rise in workplace violence, Hickey suggests that healthcare organizations need to address the root causes of frustration and dissatisfaction among patients and staff. This includes:

  • Ensuring Adequate Staffing: Proper staffing levels can reduce stress and burnout among healthcare workers, allowing them to provide better care and reducing the likelihood of patient aggression.

  • Resource Allocation: Providing sufficient resources and support for healthcare workers can help bridge the gap between marketing promises and actual care delivery.

  • Setting Realistic Expectations: Transparent communication with patients about what to expect can help manage their expectations and reduce dissatisfaction.

  • Training and Support: Offering training in de-escalation techniques and providing psychological support for staff can help them handle difficult situations more effectively.

Courtney Hickey’s article shines a light on the critical issues facing the healthcare industry today. The rise of healthcare big business, with its focus on marketing and profit, is failing to deliver on its promises, leading to increased workplace violence.

Advocating for change and addressing the root causes of these issues, healthcare organizations can create a safer and more effective environment for both providers and patients. As Hickey aptly demonstrates, it is essential for the healthcare industry to align its marketing messages with the realities of patient care to ensure the well-being of all stakeholders involved.

Violence Prevention and Conflict Management Resources

The Center for Violence Prevention and Self-Defense Training: Empowering Communities Through Evidence-Based Programs

The Center for Violence Prevention and Self-Defense Training (CVPSD) is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing evidence-based training in violence prevention and self-defense. With a focus on unbiased program development, CVPSD offers customized programs to individuals and organizations, equipping them with the tools to enhance personal safety and contribute to violence prevention in their communities. The Center reaches individuals and communities through partnerships with schools and other nonprofits, community groups, as well as classes for the public.


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