The benefits of breakaway training for nurses

James Hourihan, Author

Nurses, healthcare staff, and other professionals in the medical field are often put into difficult situations. One of the most challenging aspects is having to deal with aggressive behaviour from patients or service users. This type of conflict can be hard to navigate and can lead to serious injuries if not handled properly. 

Breakaway training—also known as crisis intervention— is becoming an increasingly important tool for protecting both patients and medical workers from harm in healthcare settings. Studies have shown that nurses are more likely to experience physical assaults at work. In fact, 3 in 10 (30%) NHS workers who interact with patients say they experience violence from a patient at least once a year, making this type of training critical. 

Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of breakaway training for nurses.

What is Breakaway Training? 

Breakaway training is a form of behavioural management that teaches individuals how to safely and effectively ‘break away’ from potentially dangerous situations. It emphasises the importance of using communication skills to de-escalate conflict, as well as recognising the warning signs of aggression before it escalates. 

It’s important to note that breakaway techniques do not involve physical restraint or contact – instead, they focus on verbal cues, body language, and other non-physical methods of defusing a situation.

These programs typically involve a combination of classroom instruction, role playing scenarios, and practical demonstrations that allow learners to get hands-on experience with the various techniques taught in the course. By taking part, nurses will gain the knowledge and confidence needed to handle any challenging behaviour they may encounter while on duty.

The Benefits of Breakaway Training for Nurses 

There are many benefits associated with breakaway training for nurses, doctors and other healthcare workers in the NHS, social care or community settings, including:

Understanding Challenging Behaviour – Breakaway training helps nurses acknowledge why people might become aggressive or violent as a result of either personal, mental, physical, environmental or social factors. They also gain insight into how their own behaviour and communication style can affect patient relationships which can help them respond to those situations in the future.

• Recognising Warning Signs – With breakaway training, nurses learn how to recognise the different phases of escalation that a patient may be exhibiting, before they reach a critical point of aggression in order to take preventative measures. This includes aggressive physical cues (eg: pushing or slapping), facial expressions (eg: disapproving frowns or intense stares), body language (heavy breathing and clenched fists), posture (eg: standing up straight or invading personal space), and tone of voice (eg: threats or shouting).

• Improved Communication Skills One of the most important skills taught in breakaway training courses is communication – namely verbal de-escalation techniques. These help nurses to better manage difficult scenarios and remain calm during times of stress or heightened emotions, maintain positive relationships with both colleagues and patients, while still providing quality care that meets individual needs. 

• Enhanced Confidence  – Finally, one of the key benefits of breakaway training for nurses is greater confidence in the workplace. By learning these least restrictive techniques, nurses are better equipped to manage challenging behaviour safely, without resorting to physical restraints or holds against their aggressor. This helps them to become more proficient and empowered in their roles. 

Furthermore, having well-trained staff members who know how to handle potentially dangerous situations can also protect nurses from potential legal liabilities should a physical altercation occur.

Is Breakaway Training Right For You? 

If you work in the public or private sector within healthcare, social care or education providing support services to people with behaviours that challenge, breakaway training is for you. As part of our BILD Act certified positive behaviour management course, we teach staff essential breakaway techniques in order to effectively disengage from aggressive situations safely and achieve positive patient outcomes. 

Call 0800 987 4075 for more information or fill in the form with your details and we’ll be happy to help with your enquiry.

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