Hospitals and health care facilities are in a uniquely vulnerable position. The problems that are associated with making a bad hiring decision are made worse by the fact that lives are at risk every moment. Not only is a hospital’s staff exposed, but patients can literally be defenseless. It’s important that any health care employee undergoes a criminal background check. Pre-employment screening should be done for doctors, nurses, other care providers, and even a hospital’s maintenance team. Plus, the screening should be ongoing for existing staff.
Today, I’ll explain the 3 most important reasons why hospitals and health care facilities must screen candidates before hiring them.
#1 – Danger To Staff
A hospital’s staff is often busy taking care of patients. Time is limited and it’s seldom spent wondering if a co-worker can be trusted or is going to cause physical harm. If an employee is hired with a violent criminal past, the staff is extremely vulnerable. Instruments can be used violently and medications can be used to poison others.
These things have happened in the past. They’ll happen again in the future. Health care employers must minimize the risk by performing comprehensive background checks on all applicants.
#2 – Danger To Patients
A prospective employee who has been convicted of a violent or drug-related crime is particularly unsuitable for a job that places him in close proximity to patients. Their immediate access to those who are helpless exposes both the patients and the hospital to enormous risk. Hospitals and other health care providers must screen both prospective hires and existing employees to manage this risk.
#3 – Potential Lawsuits
A negligent hiring lawsuit can be expensive. If a patient or staff member suffers physically as a result of insufficient pre-employment screening, they can sue the hospital for negligent hiring. It’s not uncommon for the courts to award compensation in the millions of dollars to victims of workplace violence.
Background Checks To Minimize Hiring Risk
Every business should screen applicants and conduct background checks. Health care employers, in particular, must be diligent with the screening process in order to protect their staff and patients from harm. By searching for past criminal records, verifying past employment and licenses, and clarifying any gaps in work history, they can avoid making a disastrous hiring decision. The alternative is exposing the staff, patients, and the hospital to a hiring catastrophe.
Photo Credit: José Goulão