The Dialectic of Creating Healing & Safe Healthcare Environments

Kindness is strength. This is so very true!

One would find it difficult to source a better summary of strength of character (for anyone and especially leaders) than that of The Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. I said difficult, but not impossible, as a book fit to sit directly next to The Meditations is It Worked for me: In Life and Leadership, by Colin Powell. One could spend a lifetime unpacking and making use of the wisdom from both of these persons.

Kindness is strength. It should be obvious but apparently is not to some.

Contact Professionals (i.e., Law Enforcement, Police, Healthcare Security, Security, etc.) – Pay close attention to this.

It is often the absence of kindness in your interactions with others that is a conspicuous sign of a deficiency in character and/or training. It is (pay close attention here) also a contributing factor to you creating a communicative atmosphere with someone that is less safe. Be overly directive with someone for whom that tone is not appropriate at that moment, and you unnecessarily and recklessly create your own jeopardy. You literally make the situation more unsafe for yourself and others.

One CAN be tactically safe and kind. For those who claim this cannot be, I propose that your training is simply not sophisticated enough.

This (i.e., being professional, kind, and tactically sound/safe) is precisely the kind of Healthcare Security Professional we need throughout our healthcare organizations today. We all know that healthcare environments are intended to contribute to healing. And most organizations do a notable job of creating such environments. As Healthcare Security Professionals and Leaders, we need to contribute (as all Team Members do) to the mission, vision, and values of our organizations and thus do our part to contribute to an atmosphere conducive to healing.

We all also know that, given the incivility and violence that is pervasive in our hospitals and healthcare environments today, we need strong (morally and otherwise) Healthcare Security Professionals and Leaders who possess the character and training necessary to contribute to safer environments. We need Healthcare Security Professionals and Leaders who bring with them every moment a balanced measure of strength (moral, physical, and otherwise) and training necessary to create safe environments AND a compassionate concern for others with which they contribute to a healing environment/experience for our patients and visitors.

This is a dialectic. In hospitals and healthcare environments, we (Healthcare Security Professionals and Leaders) must always hold these two responsibilities in mind.

  1. Do our part to contribute to an environment of healing
  2. Do our part to contribute to an environment that is as safe as possible

These two responsibilities must be accomplished, alongside one another. No, it’s not easy. But hospitals are not prisons, and attempting to run a hospital like a prison is not what we want.

With this dialectic, we cannot expunge either of the points from the room. They can sometimes seem like they are conflicting in nature. I propose for everyone’s consideration, however, that this is due merely to our lack of courageous conversation around them.

We all have seen this happen. Sometimes it’s the well-intentioned Healthcare Security Professional or Leader who, in his efforts to create a safer environment, ends up creating something that detrimentally impacts patient/visitor experience. Sometimes, it can go the other way, where, for instance, a well-intentioned Nursing Professional or Leader can too hastily minimize security concerns.

We all know that the pendulum swings, particularly after traumatic events occur. And that’s ok, as long as we are conscious of always striving – collaboratively, interdisciplinarily, and courageously – to keep the dynamic relationship of the dialectic as close as possible to a balanced center. We must hold both responsibilities of this dialectic in mind simultaneously while making decisions and creating reliable processes.

Let’s get on this now.


2 thoughts on “The Dialectic of Creating Healing & Safe Healthcare Environments

    1. Dear Sonya,

      Thank you for your comment!

      I absolutely agree with you. Every ethic should be informed by kindness.



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