This is a subject that anyone who works in a hospital knows well and that is violent patients and in rare cases, violent family members.
All employers have an obligation to provide for the safety of their patients, employees, visitors, and doctors. With that said, we as employees need to always make sure that we protect ourselves.
As a Health Unit Coordinator, I don't argue with anyone who is unreasonable and are looking for a fight. I always use my “Chain of Command” and get my immediate supervisor involved (this is usually when the patient/visitor is at the nursing station). If I see that the situation is getting out of hand, I will call security and ask them to come to the unit.
There was a situation where a visitor was totally out of control for two days and everyone was scared to say anything to him because they were afraid that it would “set him off”. I was off on those two days, but when I came back it had totally escalated to the point that one of my coworkers was calling the police and administration were forced to take it seriously.
We were so scared that we all had escape routes planned.
We should not have to live in fear when we clock into work, but we should also be aware of our surroundings and be ready to run if necessary.